Publicado em 8 de maio de 2006
Traduções disponíveis em: français . Español .

Points of attention of the Intercultural Research Group

Temas fortes ligados: Intercultural, diálogo e plurilinguismo .
Temas largos ligados: Cross-cultural .

1. Dominant international discourse and cultural specificities

We recognize that the starting point of the project is the wider context as set out above.
As Christoph Eberhard (C.E.) has put it : "This project is part of the process of the "Charter of Human Responsibilities" and the ultimate objective of a "third pillar of international life" as a complement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights focused on individuals and to the Charter of the United Nations focused on collectivities, peace between them and development.
Our concern about Human Responsibilities therefore is explicitly related to a reflection on globalization. What does this imply ? On the one hand concerning our ways of knotting up all the elements we will bring to the fore : how to build up our reflections on responsibility through intercultural dialogue in relation to our objective of contributing to "another globalization" through creating a "third pillar" ?
On the other hand with regard to our work itself : if we will publish a book, it will probably be in English and French. So the frameworks imposed by these languages will be questioned by our dialogues."

2. Asymmetries of equivalents

(C.E.:) "The philosopher Raimundo PANIKKAR has made it clear that homeomorphic equivalents are not symmetrical. E.g. starting from the European context, one could see in the Indian notion of "dharma" an equivalent homeomorphe of human rights. But if one would start from the Indian context and look for an homeomorphic equivalent of dharma , one would probably end up with religion in Europe."
In some languages the main characteristics of the western notion of responsibility may not be present in just one word. They may even be absent to such a degree that translation hardly makes sense. The question then is: can major elements of the idea of "responsibility" be found in other words ?

3. The self, "the other" and the living world around them

Cultural / religious conceptions about the notions of the self, the other and the relationship between the two as well as the (inter)relationship between the human beings and the living world around them, differ. They may be deeply revealing in the sense that they provide a more (if not the most) fundamental understanding of responsibility in human communities around of the world.
These varying conceptions may be of essential importance to shed a light on questions like : where does the idea of responsibility come from ? is it an inner attitude or is it imposed ? does it come from a person’s free will (his free choice, his autonomy) or is one obliged to assume responsibilities ? who assigns Responsibility to whom ? for what ? who accounts to whom for what ? How is determined whether someone has exercised her/his responsibilities successfully ? Are there anthropocentric versus cosmocentric conceptions ?

4. Responsibility and power

(C.E. :) The dominant international lingua franca being English, the importance of intercultural dialogue is also to make power centres in the world aware that this language and all it carries with it, tends to impose foreign elements not necessarily understood or appreciated. The international predominant worldview and language also hides the other world visions and creates an illusion of universality.
Thus, when for instance a Chinese person would talk about Responsibility in Chinese to Chinese people s/he is likely to do this in a way different from her/his discourse on the same subject in English.
Also, speaking in a Hindu context about dharma / svadharma as a possible equivalent of Responsibility forces one to ask questions about the political stakes linked to such a choice for various actors of society.

For those in the power centres it is often unthinkable that there may be other horizons to make sense out of one’s life and to organize society. And when difference is thinkable, very often it is only interpreted in something which has to be eradicated in order to achieve "progress" : difference - if not ignored- is often constructed as "inferior", as "something from the past", which may have had its relevance but is not relevant any more in the world of today, where globalisation is equalled to the realisation of a "global dream" of a global village with (good) governance, democracy, development etc.

Therefore : another in-road to our reflections should be added : what are the political stakes linked to the notion of Responsibility and their equivalents in various cultures ? These are not only linked to semantic fields but are matters of power. The whole ideology of the World Bank about "good governance" advertises a "responsible participation" of civil society. But what does that mean exactly ?

5. Duty as distinct from responsibility

Attention should be given to the difference between "duty" and "responsibility" in the three circles given the fact that we admit that the starting point is the notion of responsibility as distinct from duty.

6. Analysis of discourses (religious, political, commercial, legal and human rights discourse, popular everyday discourse…)

Finally, a question to be looked into is whether there are differences in the use of Responsibility in the various discourses , in what they address and …what they do not address.


puce Mapa do site puce RSS puce vieinterne puce