Transcultural Constructions of Global Legitimacy

13-15 November 2013

The problem of attaining global cooperation amidst cultural diversity is frequently and often urgently affirmed, but insufficiently explored. This workshop addressed the question with a focus on legitimacy: namely, how can one construct frameworks for global cooperation that attract consent across the often large cultural divergences of the affected transplanetary publics? The discussion was led by ten experts from different world regions, such as India, Tonga, Suriname or China, holding highly diverse cultural and disciplinary positions. The workshop was part of a series of workshops within the Building Global Democracy Programme (BGD), of whom Jan Aart Scholte is one of the convenors.

Professor Scholte, who is also former Senior Fellow of the Centre, raised the question how cultural diversity can be negotiated such that the various parties can all give positive consent to the required global governance arrangements. He introduced the approach of 'transculturalism', with principles such as reflexivity, recognition of complexity, celebration of diversity, humility, deep listening, reciprocal learning, and perpetual change. The international experts debated lively their different concepts of culture, the role of power with regard to cultural diversity and the problem of incommensurability. The participants also visited the Merkez Mosque in Duisburg-Marxloh as a local example of multicultural and interreligious dialogue.

On the third day of the workshop the debate focused more on the concept of transculturalism, and different strategies to approach cultural diversity within global governance were discussed. The workshop was concluded on Friday evening with a mayoral reception at the town hall of Duisburg at which workshop participants, staff and fellows from the Centre as well as representatives of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and of the City of Duisburg were invited. In his welcome remarks mayor Sören Link emphasized the multicultural dimensions of Duisburg. Also the Prorector for Diversity Management of the UDE, Professor Ute Klammer, welcomed the participants, as well as Professor Tobias Debiel from the Centre. Finally, Professor Scholte and one of the participants, Dr Charity Musamba, shared their personal impressions and summarized the discussions of the workshop for the guests.

Date: 13-15 November 2013
Venue: H2Office, Schifferstraße 44, 47059 Duisburg

Workshop Report 'Going away from what you know' on YouTube

Mayoral reception

Interim Review