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Europe or Not! Multiple Conversations and Voices

With Alberto Martinelli, Vittorio Cotesta, Nadia Urbinati and Alain Touraine


Edited By Monica Simeoni

Europe is in crisis and the EU project risks disintegration. The refugee and Brexit issues, as well as recent events in Turkey, demonstrate how serious matters really are. In a EurActiv interview, in February 2016, Edgar Morin, the French sociologist and philosopher, speaks of a «planetary crisis» and the need «to change civilisation» in order to respond to the complexity of today’s world. Furthermore, the drama of terrorism, a new phenomenon for contemporary western democracies requires serious reflection regarding jihadism and its radicalisation.

These are but some of the issues addressed during the multiple conversations held with the three sociologists, Alberto Martinelli, Vittorio Cotesta and Alain Touraine and with the political scientist, Nadia Urbinati. All the interviewees are leading experts on European issues and institutions, as well as on democracy put to the test currently by rampant populism in almost all the EU countries. Alain Touraine fervently holds that «it is madness» not to want a united Europe at a moment when we need a new political and economic project capable of defeating the nationalism, walls and separation between states that now seem to prevail.

Europe finds itself in a dramatic position: it must choose innovation and construction, or disintegration, with all the unpredictable consequences this may entail.

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Alain Touraine: The Subject, the new actor in post-social society


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The Subject, the new actor in post-social society


The new social actors

I would like to begin our conversation starting from your book Nous, sujets humains,2 which follows on La fin des Sociétés.3 Your studies and analyses underline the impossibility, in this post-industrial society of ours, where financial capitalism has asserted itself and become dominant (separate from political power), of interpreting society traditionally. In a globalised world, dominated by communications, a new reference paradigm imposes itself. Cultural categories are replacing those of a social type. Furthermore, traditional ideologies, the concepts of right and left, seem too worn out to represent the daunting changes taking place. Your reflection is also philosophical, existential and structuralist in nature. Structuralism had expelled the individual subject from the social ambit: your thinking, instead, places it at the centre of human life, as the regenerating source of society.4

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