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Culture and identity in crisis: rethinking recognition?

First edition of EUI Conversations

Add to calendar 2024-06-26 17:00 2024-06-26 18:00 Europe/Rome Culture and identity in crisis: rethinking recognition? Garden Terrace Villa La Fonte YYYY-MM-DD


26 June 2024

17:00 - 18:00 CEST


Garden Terrace

Villa La Fonte

Organised by

  • Presidency
The first EUI Conversations with Simona Forti, Olivier Roy, and Charles Taylor zooms in on the role of culture and identity in a world in crisis with the three eminent scholars offering divergent yet complementary views.

In the new EUI Conversations series, members of the EUI community and the broader public engage internationally distinguished intellectuals in meaningful discussions about the ongoing global crises that shape our societies and politics —from Gaza to the Mediterranean and beyond. 

Our goal is to create a forum which resonates with the academic community and the broader public. Participants will hear from eminent scholars, but the audience actively participates in interactive discussions.

We warmly invite all members of the EUI community and Florentine citizens to participate in what promises to be the first of many stimulating discussions. Participants can also join the conversation online.


Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of McGill University of Montreal

Held by many to be the father of thinking multiculturalism, Charles Taylor has long emphasised the importance of politics of recognition –– of allowing for the acceptance and nurture of collective cultural identities when designing institutions conducive to justice and societal progress. As a careful critic of liberal universalism, his work has been centred around understanding the function of culture in providing meaning and continuity in communal life and individual identity; and the difficult balancing act of politics in ensuring that cultural freedom is neither subdued nor allowed to erode the liberal order. In his latest book, Cosmic Connections, Taylor explores Romantic and post-Romantic responses to disenchantment and innovations in language.  

Olivier Roy, Adjunct Professor at the European University Institute  

Olivier Roy is an avid observer of societal transformations in the face of globalisation, and an eminent voice discussing the interfaces, confluences, and conflicts of cultural constructs arising from an increasingly integrated human universe. In his latest book, The Crisis of Culture, Roy describes how historically fluid, localised cultural identities that once were sources of true social and moral meaning are being eroded by the rise of stable, globalised "box identities"—in turn reducing the notions of "freedom" to the right of changing boxes. He contends that the rise of identity politics is more the expression of a generalised deculturation than an assertion of specific cultures. Values, in turn, are defended as being universal, with the consequence that values are no longer connected to specific cultures. So-called 'culture wars', then, he posits are not clashes between distinct cultures but rather a struggle to articulate values beyond cultural parameters, leading to an inflexible, aggressive normativity undermining social cohesion.

Simona Forti, Professor of Political Philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore

A leading thinker in contemporary political philosophy, Simona Forti delves into the intricate relationship between truth, power, and subjectivity. Her work critically examines how lies and political power interact, particularly in the contexts of totalitarian and post-totalitarian regimes. Forti explores the concept of "performative lies , which not only conceal reality but have the potential to create alternative realities. She sheds light on the evolving nature of subjectivity in post-democratic societies, where individuals, feeling increasingly irrelevant, assert their own truths in ways that challenge conventional perceptions. Forti’s perspective enriches our understanding of how cultural identities and personal subjectivities are shaped and reshaped in the dynamic interplay of political forces. Her new book, Totalitarianism: A Borderline Idea in Political Philosophy, clarifies the motives, misunderstandings, and controversies that have animated the resurgence of the concept of totalitarianism.

Moderator: Azucena Moran, the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, PhD researcher at the EUI’s Department of Social and Political Sciences.

Welcome: The event will be opened by Professor Patrizia Nanz, President of the European University Institute.

All are welcome to attend. Please register at the link, indicating whether you intend to attend online or in person. The event will be followed by a cocktail reception at the Garden Terrace of Villa La Fonte. 


Simona Forti (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Alessandria)

Olivier Roy (EUI)

Charles Taylor (McGill University of Montreal)

Patrizia Nanz (European University Institute)


Azucena Moran (Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, European University Institute)

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