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The Flattening of the World: The Crisis of Culture and the Empire of Norms

Book Launch
Olivier Roy
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

What does the increasing reference to 'identity' in the political discourse mean? What is the phenomenon laying behind the increase of safe spaces?

How the extension of individual freedom (political and sexual) since the sixties led to a paradoxical extension of normative systems: inflation of laws and regulations concerning both the social life (workplace, garbage sorting, terms of address, health issues etc.) and the intimate life (explicit consent in sexual practices). This is the core puzzle raised Prof. Roy’s latest book (‘The Flattening of the World'). This call for a systematic explicitation of do and don’t is the consequence of a crisis of the 'implicit', that is of a supposedly shared culture. When there is no more a shared culture, everything has to be turned into an explicit code of how to speak and how to act. For him, the increasing reference to 'identity' in the political discourse, both on the left and on the right, is a failed answer to a deeper crisis of the very notion of culture. Identities are now defined by a limited set of traits (race, sexual preferences, eating habits) that don’t create a society but only sub-cultures that are looking for safe space, either on the left (campuses) or on the right (from gated communities to national border).  

Zoom:  (Meeting ID: 947 9717 1539/Passcode: 499645)