Universalism and Relativism: Is there anything new?

Ethnic and racial studies Lecture 2013 : Michel WieviorkaEthnic and Racial Studies Annual Lecture, Thursday 9 May 2013, City University London

The Ethnic and Racial Studies Annual Lecture 2013 will be given by Professor Michel Wieviorka, Professor of Sociology at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and President of the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.

Universalism is usually associated with modernity and values which seem primarily to be the historical legacy of the work of the Western world on itself and of its expansion since the Age of Discovery. And it is more and more widely criticized. Some criticize an abstract universalism which ignores concrete realities. Others denounce the various forms of domination which the focus on the rule of law and reason conceal: the West over the rest of the world, men over women, White people over those of colour, etc. Yet others suggest that the reference to universal values constitutes a new garb for approaches which are nationalist, racist, xenophobic and, in the last resort, intolerant.

Should we therefore announce the decline of universal values? Or lapse into relativism? Definitely not: this lecture will examine the limits of the traditional conceptions of universalism with an aim to reformulating the concept.

The lecture is free to attend, but you will need to register on the City University website.

Important Information:

Venue: Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, City University, London, Northampton Square, EC1V 0HB

Time: 18:00 Registration ; 18:30 Lecture starts


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