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Lecture by Lion König: "Culture, Conflict and Citizenship: Global Lessons from the Indian Case?"

Sep 02, 2013 01:40 pm to 03:40 pm

Lion König, Member of the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS), and Associate Member of the Cluster ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ is participating in the 7th Global Conference ‘Multiculturalism Conflict and Belonging’.


Venue: Mansfield College, Oxford, 1-3 September 2013.



Abstract of the Lecture:


Culture, Conflict and Citizenship: Global Lessons from the Indian Case?



The paper seeks to fathom the conceptual relationship between culture, conflict, and citizenship, and aims at sketching different ways in which they interact. Does a citizenship regime which has cultural factors built into it provoke or reduce cultural conflict? Are some cultural factors more conflict-relevant than others, and which implications does that have for institutional policies? What is the difference between conflicts of a primordial kind, i.e. such that are culturally-motivated, and conflicts of the political kind, for example such over citizen entitlements, and where and in what ways do they intersect?


With post-colonial India as the case study, these questions can be operationalized and empirically verified against the multi-cultural background of a society which has in the past six decades seen multi-faceted conflicts and clashes of religion, ethnicity, language and gender, but also peaceful co-existence through affirmative action. On a theoretical level, the paper considers the interface between the three phenomena and investigates into recent conceptual developments like ‘cultural citizenship’, which as a hybrid, normative concept emphasizes the significance of cultural participation and representation of different groups in the various media discourses that, in sum, constitute the national narrative, and following from that, the cultural collective memory. Media representation is seen as the precondition for the inclusivity and hence the stability and resilience of state and society.


In an increasingly global world, when the old set-up of the Western nation-state is challenged by cultural diversity, questions arise as to whether new citizens can be accommodated more easily if the flow of people is enhanced by a flow of ideas and cultural policies. In other words, can the West learn from India which has spelled out cultural difference in various ways and inscribed its protection into the Constitution? An interdisciplinary research framework, linking political science with communication- and media studies, as well as area expertise, seems best placed to provide answers to these pressing issues.



Keywords: India, cultural citizenship, institutions, transnationalism, flow, media