International conference: Multiculturalism – twilight of post-modern society?

Organisers: Ludwig van Beethoven Association, Krakow
Jagiellonian University Institute of European Studies
Conference venue: Krakow, ul. Krupnicza, Aula Mała
Date: 11 Oct. 2013

By opening up borders, freeing trade, providing access to labour markets and enabling mobility of artistic and intellectual events, virtually all European countries have become open, and therefore multicultural. Social pluralism, tolerance and cultural coexistence now have their firm place in the set of values of contemporary Europeans and have become a part of their everyday life. For some time now, however, this everyday life has been witnessing confrontation and conflict in increasingly radical forms. Phenomena which have existed on the margins of the society for decades have now moved to the centre of symbolic and political order. Religion, legal norms, customs, rules of everyday life, educational system and even culture have become the bone of contention. Tension leads to demonstrations of hatred, radical and xenophobic attitudes. All this results in acts of violence, often against ordinary, innocent citizens. It seems that the European societies of today are not prepared to cope with the situation. We all feel helpless.

Some consider that it is the concept of multiculturalism which is responsible for this status quo.

Thus, if the project of multiculturalism does not work, where are we? What should be done about the whole situation? How should we go on about integrating immigrants into our societies while maintaining our legal and cultural status quo and feeling safe and at the same time ensuring that new citizens obtain the same rights? Social conflict is an inherent feature of the modern society, however, it does not necessarily imply the need to radically challenge the existing order. But this is not to say that there is no room for improvement of the mechanisms which regulate and solve these conflicts. Exchange of experience in this field, reflection on the question of integration and cultural adaptation, prevention of violence and terror on cultural grounds, queries about the future and shape of a multicultural society, these are all topics that we would like to consider during our international conference called Multiculturalism – twilight of post-modern society? which will be held in Krakow on 11 October 2013.

The conference participants include academics, politicians, journalists, social activists and people involved in culture. This interdisciplinary conference should spark off discussion about forms of aggression on cultural grounds which currently occur in Europe and about their symbolic latent institutional forms as well as their overt physical manifestations. Discussions should seek to answer the question about the methods and forms of coping with the situation which have already been worked out and about the extent to which culture can contribute to the development of good practice in interpersonal and cross-cultural relations in Europe.

The following subjects will be considered at the conference:

  • Art and the mission of multiculturalism
  • The limits of tolerance in culture
  • Cultural outsiders as a category in art
  • Is hostility of the Europeans to national and ethnic minorities exacerbated by the mass media?
  •  Internet as a safe haven for chauvinists or an arena for freedom?
  • Citizens for multiculturalism. Spontaneous acts of social commitment to the idea of multiculturalism.
  • Multiculturalism: the decline of an idea rather than of social reality

PROGRAMME   | Programme in Polish

9.00 – 9.45: Registration of the participants

Subject: “Multiculturalism doesn’t work”. The future of the pluralistic western world. (theoretical discussion)

10.00 – 10.20. Opening speech:
Prof. Zdzisław Mach, proxy of Jagiellonian University Rector for international relations
doctor Dariusz Niedźwiedzki, Director, Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University
representative of L. van Beethoven Association

10.20 -10.50 Anne Philips, London School of Economics

10.50 – 11.20 professor Adrian Favell, Science Po, Paris

11.20 – 11.50 David Goodhart

11.50-12.40 – Discussion with conference participants
Moderator: prof. Zdzisław Mach

12.40 – 13.00 – coffee break

Subject: Art and the mission of multiculturalism. The limits of tolerance in culture Discussion

13.00 – 13.30 lecture Prof. Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, University of Social Sciences and Humanities

13.30 – 15.00 Panel discussion with practicians in the field of multicultural society. Subject: How is the idea of multiculturalism expressed in art, culture and social activity of today?

Tymek Borowski
Witek Hebanowski (Inna Przestrzeń Foundation)
Zuzanna Dłużniewska (Warszawskie Centrum Wielokulturowe Centre)
Redbad Klynstra (O! Holender! Festival)
Magdalena Sroka, Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow for cultural affairs, former long-time director of Krakow Festival Office
Moderator: doctor Bożena Gierat-Bieroń (IES, JU)

15.00-16.00 – break

16.00 – 18.00

Subject: Media and the Internet – an arena of freedom or a safe haven for chauvinists? Discussion

16.00-16.30 Multiculturalism in public space with special emphasis on the media, prof. Magdalena Środa (Warsaw University)

16.30-17.00 prof. Wiesław Godzic (USSH)

17.00-18.00 Panel discussion with representatives of the media and the Internet:
Cezary Gmyz, Do Rzeczy weekly
Łukasz Warzecha, editor in chief, Fakt weekly
Liliana Sonik

Moderator: Sławomir Mokrzycki, TVP Kraków

18.00-18.15 Closing speech,
prof. Zdzisław Mach,
Representative of L. van Beethoven Association

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