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European University Institute - Florence School of Transnational Governance - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Olivier Roy’s new book receives a glowing review in the Financial Times

A recent review in the Financial Times has hailed Professor Olivier Roy's latest book, "The Crisis of Culture," as a remarkable achievement. Authored by political scientist Ivan Krastev, the review describes Roy's work as an “illuminating and highly original interpretation of today's world”.

25 March 2024

STG_Olivier_Roy_book review

Krastev draws parallels between Roy's insights and Ferenc Karinthy's dystopian novel, "Metropole," suggesting that we live in a world where the notion of 'home' is becoming increasingly elusive.

Roy, an Adjunct Professor at the EUI’s Florence School of Transnational Governance and Robert Schuman Centre, builds his central argument around the erosion of culture, attributing this phenomenon to a combination of factors such as globalisation, technological advancements, and the blurring of traditional boundaries.

Roy neither condemns nor fully embraces identity politics in his analysis. Instead, he offers a nuanced examination of its origins and contradictions, presenting explanations rather than polemics. According to Krastev, Roy's tone is melancholic yet never angry, reflecting a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding cultural identity in the contemporary world.

"The Crisis of Culture" is likened to a 21st-century counterpart to Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man”, proposing that history's 'end' signifies a departure from contextual interpretation towards a contemporary lens. Roy contends that individuals are now judged based on present-day standards, leading to a reduction of emotions into mere tokens. “Everyone is conceived as a contemporary, and is treated by the standards of today,” Krastev explains.

Krastev concludes by affirming that Roy's book, while not overtly flaunting its originality, brings order to a world grappling with its own discomfort.

For those interested in delving deeper into Roy's insights, "The Crisis of Culture: Identity Politics and the Empire of Norms" is available for purchase.

For the full book review, visit the Financial Times article: The Crisis of Culture by Olivier Roy — a remarkable achievement


Last update: 25 March 2024

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