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2003: Towards a Cosmopolitan Future?

Future Consequences of Religion, Ethnicity and Migration

Europe in recent decades has been increasingly characterised by an ethnic and cultural diversity with a growing non-European element. The conflicts and problems arising in this connection are perhaps to be viewed as a species of teething trouble on the road to a fruitful hybrid culture. Coupled with a growth of socio-economic stratification, they can also mark the beginning of a profound fragmentation whereby ethnic subcultures, instead of being integrated with European societies, reject the values and norms of the dominant culture. There are fears of such a society becoming characterised by strong suspicion and hostility, a “conflict of civilisations” in the everyday context.

The trend towards even greater ethnic and cultural diversity in Europe seems inevitable in the century that lies ahead of us. The European population is ageing steadily, and all the indications are that its low birth rate will have to be made up for by means of large-scale immigration. What will it take for this kind of Europe to become a smooth-running society? What demands will be made on European societies and on people migrating to them? On what philosophical and political foundations is such a society to rest? What, for example, will be the role of religion? Will a cosmopolitan culture arise as a consequence of generation changes, with new generations becoming less and less tied to their ethnic identity and adopting a global culture and lifestyle? Or will separate identities flourish but prove less of a problem than expected; perhaps the fear of them is just a legacy of the homogenisation ideals of modernism?

There are perhaps important lessons to be learned for the future by studying the situation in present-day Europe. Different countries – France, Britain and Germany, to take just a few examples – have adopted different standpoints on immigration, and comparisons between them could provide important clues for what a future policy might bring and what can Europe learn from the United States, with its long tradition of being a melting pot?


Philip Bobbitt: Sovereignty and Identity in a Historical Perspective

Professor, Texas University, School of Law, USA

Ingvild Saelid Gilhus: The Role of Religion in Cosmopolitan Cultures

Professor, University of Bergen, Department of Religious Studies, Norway

Richard Swartz: Historical Experience of European Cosmopolitanism – The Habsburg Empire and the Fall of Yugoslavia

Author and Journalist, Sweden

Zygmunt Bauman: When Strangers Meet Strangers – The Challenges of Cosmopolitanism

Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Leeds and University of Warsaw, UK/Poland

Nathan Glazer: The Reality of Multiculturalism in America

Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, Department of Sociology, USA

Russell Jacoby: The Myth of Multiculturalism

Professor of History, UCLA, USA

David Goodhart: Solidarity and Diversity: The Progressive Dilemma

Editor-in-Chief, Prospect Magazine, UK

Norman Birnbaum: USA and Europe – The Identity Divide

Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University Law Center, USA

Catherine Audard: Multicultural Citizenship and the Politics of Recognition – The Case of France

Dr, London School of Economics, Forum of European Philosophy, UK

Michael Bommes: German Identity and Ethnic Diversity

Dr, Professor, University of Osnabrück, Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, Germany

Jytte Klausen: Euro-Muslims: Rejection and Belonging

Professor, Brandeis University, Department of Politics, USA

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Case of Holland

Member of Parliament, Volkspartij Voor Vrijheid en Democratie, The Netherlands

Elazar Barkan: Historical Crimes and National Identity

Professor, Department of History and Cultural Studies, Claremont Graduate University, USA

Adam Kuper: The Culture of Discrimination: Reflections on Multi­culturalism

Professor, Department of Human Science, Brunel University, UK

Kenan Malik: Multiculturalism and Individual Freedom

Author and Journalist, London, UK

Christopher Hitchens: Should the World Become American?

Author and Journalist, UK/USA