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kosmopolis institute
world citizenship
Kromme Nieuwegracht 29, 3512 HD, Utrecht

T +31 30 239 02 00,

Kosmopolis Institute Research Citizenship in an Intercultural Society

Citizenship in an Intercultural Society

In the early 21st century, the debate about citizenship and identity has become strongly polarized in the Netherlands, across Europe and globally. A fear of cultural differences often dominates in public and theoretical debates and is also reflected in political policy. This complex, intercultural situation into which societies have progressively moved, is part of the background of this polarization and is closely linked to global social, political and economic processes.

Migration flows have intensified in the past fifty years. More than ever before, people migrate from one country to another and from rural areas to urban environments, thereby dramatically changing their everyday living conditions. Citizens in the 21st century are expected to be capable of functioning in socio-political environments that are characterized by substantial cultural and religious diversity. Living in such social contexts requires of citizens the capability to articulate their own views in debates about values and also consider and integrate new insights and skills. These issues have been researched broadly in recent decades, in socio-political theory and philosophy, and in the fields of education and the historical sciences. The Scientific Council for Government Policy also contributes to this research in the Netherlands.

The Citizenship in an Intercultural Society research project investigates the challenges that confront citizens in both local and global contexts. The research addresses citizenship in intercultural fields of tension, where old, pillarized forms of citizenship, based on a social partition of cultural (e.g. religious) identities, is no longer adequate in today‚Äôs society. The primary research focus is on what happens in Western societies, but, through the involvement of the Kosmopolis Institute, is also oriented towards global, comparative perspectives. Western and non-Western issues and perspectives are studied, with an explicit focus on the relationship between modern Western secular thought and practices, and those that are rooted in religious traditions, which often dominate in non-Western contexts. However, in the Western world too, intercultural issues have become an important part of interreligious and inter-worldview issues. Citizenship in an Intercultural Society  aims to contribute through critical reflection on these matters, thereby rethinking the meaning of the secular.

The work of the Citizenship in an Intercultural Society project and Kosmopolis aims to shed new light on the complex processes that take place in intercultural societies, where new forms of engagement determine how identities are articulated in diverse communities and societies. This research objective is in line with current debate and reflection in various Dutch humanist organizations and movements and addresses the tensions between concepts and practices of autonomy and community, secularism and religion, and about the evolving identity of humanism in the 21st century.

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Laurens ten Kate about the dilemma's of the democratic society (in Dutch)

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Hilde van 't Klooster about the dilemma's of the democratic society (in Dutch)