Culture and Identity in a Globalizing Europe
Full course description
The course aims to understand the relationship between culture, our sense of self, and material changes in our lives under industrial “modernisation” and globalisation. The course aims to unpack a central claim: that culture and identity do not exist in some ideational realm separate from daily life, but on the contrary are the results of ways of organising, ways of working together, ways of relating to one another.
The course starts with a conceptual analysis of the relationship between globalisation and modernity, and the relationship between those ideas and the concept of culture, drawing primarily on the work of Ernest Gellner and Anthony Giddens. From this central conceptual ‘core’ the course examines theoretical and empirical research into the construction of three diﬀerent types of identity: religious identities, consumer identities, and digital identities, via the philosophy and social theory of Max Weber, Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault. We apply these concepts to contemporary debates around freedom of speech versus freedom of religion; whether “consumer activism” can ever be an effective tool for climate or fair trade campaigners; and whether a shift to a “digital society” is producing new cultures, new identities, and a threat to democracy itself. Please note that this is an elective course and available places are limited.
At the end of this course students will be able to: • Reflect on theoretical research on globalisation, culture and identity; • Analyse contemporary problems related to globalisation in a cultural register; • Develop theoretically informed positions on topical issues linked to European debate on globalisation and identity.
Hopper, P. (2007). Understanding Cultural Globalization. Cambridge/ Malden, MA: Polity Press.