2.6.Identities and Cultural Diversity (2016)

Apunte Inglés
Universidad Blanquerna (URL)
Grado Relaciones Internacionales - 2º curso
Asignatura International Political Structure
Año del apunte 2016
Páginas 4
Fecha de subida 15/03/2016
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Marta Busquets IPE 2016 2.6. Identity and cultural diversity in International Relations 2.6.1. An Introduction "Identity is a story one tells to oneself and to others. That story is partly objective and real, partly imagined and subjective. A people's identity is "a narrative about themselves"...
Identity is an uncertain, problematic and complicated trait; it is an interaction between the individual and the social contexts we live in. It is influenced by forces such as race, class, politics, religion, language, gender, and sexuality. These components work together with one another and do not necessarily fall into neat unified combinations." Olu Alake, "And Who Am I? Cultural Diversity, Identities and Difference" (Conference, Barcelona, 2005) According to Amartya Sen, we have a plural view of who we are, our identity as the combination of different dimensions we feel represented with. The moment we are able to recognise our plurality of traits it is easy to recognise the traits of others and be able to find those in common seeing others as subjects and not judging them for a narrowed identity.
2.6.2. A few Observations a) Recent decades have seen identities becoming increasingly complex and individualised.
Identity as process which evolves, it is constantly subject to change and that we can redefine.
b) Our understanding of our identity is no longer linked to the territories we inhabit, but an result from a combination of factors.
c) Recognising the plurality that exists within us can be a step towards accepting the diversity that surrounds us - and be able to focus on what we share with others, rather than what make us different.
d) This also requires being able to understand that our identities are not natural, but constructed, and to recognise our subjective ways of perceiving others and stereotypes we0ve assumed about them.
e) In many parts of the world, identities increasingly become the bases of political movements - e.g. nationalists parties, strengthening of the ethnic or religious dimension in political arguments, single-issue, social movements, etc.
f) This can be seen as one of the contradictions embodied by globalisation - trends towards homogenisation v. affirmation of differences.
2.6.3. Three definitions of Culture 1) "as a way of life" / as the distinguishing traits of a certain groups of people, its traditions, beliefs, values, etc. ("anthropological definition").
2) as "the arts and heritage" (i.e. tangible ways of expressing views, emotions and values).
3) as the sphere which allows human beings to learn and develop their identities and knowledge, to make sense of the world in which they live.
Marta Busquets IPE 2016 2.6.4. Cultural Diversity "Culture takes diverse forms across time and space. This diversity is embodied in the uniqueness and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies making up humankind. As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations" UNESCO, Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001), article 1.
So, what is cultural diversity? a) A fact: something that results from the myriad of factors that define our identities and, in turn, our ways of living and expressing ourselves.
b) An issue that gains attention in the political agenda, as a result of its importance in a shaping social cohesion, but also its indirect effects on economy and other areas. When cohesion is achieved, cultural diversity has very positive externalities --> enriching society.
2.6.5. Some Dimensions of Cultural Diversity a) Linguistic diversity b) Ethnic diversity c) Religious diversity d) Diversity of cultural expressions (e.g. diverse contents in the media and in cultural market) 2.6.6. Vulnerable Languages in the World The linguistic diversity is one of the dimension that is easier to analyse objectively and that is severely threat by the disappearing of a large number of languages in the world.
There are between 6 and 7 thousand languages, only a 10% are considered to be official (used formally).
Large part of the languages are not institutionalized or taught and this can make them disappear. More than 1/3 of languages is considered vulnerable in risk of disappearing.
2.6.7. Reasons for Respecting Cultural Diversity a) The social case: diversity should be respected because all ideas and values existing in a community are intertwined, have evolved in interaction an "social capital" and trust can be enhanced and conflict prevented if we respect others.
b) The economic case: cultural diversity within a company is desirable because it makes it staff more similar to its customers, generates confidences and provides a better pool of ideas and creative possibilities.
Marta Busquets IPE 2016 c) The ethical case: diversity should be respected because everyone has a rights to express his/ her own identity and recognising human diversity is morally right.
d) The legal case: cultural diversity should be respected in accordance with legislation that prohibits any kind of discrimination.
2.6.8. Political Mobilisation of Minority Groups The post-Cold War world has been generally marked by an increasing visibility of identities, including those of sub-national groups.
• Increasing pressure on public policy, national legislation and social attitudes to be sensitive to difference and respect group rights, such as women, ethnic minorities, LGBT communities, etc.
• This is often supported by transnational movement and can lead in some cases to more plural, complex understanding of “national citizenship”.
2.6.8.1. Tension between cosmopolitan and communitarian values Current Events: Mobilisation against discrimination, at the time when racism is increasing in some countries because of the Refugee Crisis and the Asylum-Seekers.
Referendum in Switzerland: Far-right party wants to adopt a new legislation about foreigners who commit crimes could be expelled from the country.
Events such as the solidarity with refugees, international opposition to the Iraq War and an emerging global civil society have been interpreted as representing the emergence of global values, which become stronger than loyalty to national identities.
To what extent is an emergence of a universal recognition that we all belong to the same planet, so elements of solidarity should exist? 2.6.8.2. Cosmopolitanism “Cosmopolitanism — is universalistic: it belies that every human being matters and that we have a shared obligation to care for one another. But it also accepts the wide range of legitimate human diversity”.
Being part of the globe is more important than the specific place of the world you come from.
2.6.8.3. The Communitarian View • It stresses that people attach value to belonging to a specific community • Being part of a community involved having duties towards other members, and this cannot be extended to the whole of humanity.
Marta Busquets IPE 2016 • Michael Walzer: You get recognised by the people who live around you, and we need to feel as part of a group. He also argues that there’s no world that can give him citizenship: We are citizens of the country that gives us citizenship, but the world, as such, cannot give us citizenship.
2.6.9. Tension Between “Western” globalisation and Other groups.
Some authors argue that the rise of local identities in international relations also results from the reaction to globalisation, which is perceived to impose “Western” models in social values, political models, culture, the economy, etc.
In many parts of the world, religious groups promote conservative political discourses and use different resources and, in some way, may resort to violence. 
 Within countries, this leads to debates on secular vs religious values and their place in the political realm. 
 - The Clash of Civilisaitons (S. Huntington) has been one of the analysis made in the international level in these kind of debates and conflicts.
2.6.10. Attempts to build new, more inclusive political frameworks Recognition of plural and complex societies demand that new governance frameworks should be more inclusive and open to diversity.
“United in Diversity” adopted by the European Union in 2000 finds resonance in many other national constitutions, such as India, Canada, etc.
Several regional spaces have embraced internal diversity, seeing it as an advantage rather than an obstacle to unity.
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