The Ambiguities of Intercultural Dialogue: Critical Perspectives on the European Union’s New Agenda for Culture

Hans Erik Näss (1)
(1) University of Oslo - Norway , Norway


Throughout the last couple of decades various aspects of culture seems to affect the lives of European citizens more and more. As a reply the European Union (EU) in 2007 endorsed 'A European agenda for culture in a globalising world’, evidently their first-ever strategy for culture. Zooming in on three areas – intercultural dialogue, culture as a catalyst to creativity, and culture as part of foreign relations – culture had for the first time been elevated into the premier league of Union politics. This article therefore investigates the background and content of the agenda further with particular emphasis on intercultural dialogue: What is the substance of this phrase and under which conditions is it likely that it will affect European culture as policy instrument? Unfortunately the EU demonstrates an indistinct understanding of the notion that cultural variation consists of both diversity and difference. These two concepts are related, but not synonymous, and furthermore essential to a) understand the multicultural Europe, and b) in deciding where the attempts of intercultural dialogue should end. As a consequence it is argued that the EU must revise their understanding of intercultural dialogue if their cultural policy should become something more profound than good intentions.

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Hans Erik Näss (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Hans Erik Näss, University of Oslo - Norway

Hans Erik Näss, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo. He is the author of A New Agenda? The European Union and Cultural Policy (London: Alliance Publishing Trust, 2009).

Näss, H. E. (2010). The Ambiguities of Intercultural Dialogue: Critical Perspectives on the European Union’s New Agenda for Culture. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 10(2), 1–11.

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