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Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union

From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art


Alessandra Silveira, Mariana Canotilho and Pedro Madeira Froufe

This book attempts to address an important question: where is the European project going?
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
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Cultural Diversity as a Political and Legal Challenge and a Basis for Humanism in Our Times (Jesus Prieto de Pedro)



Universidad UNED de Madrid

I would like to begin with the words of the great Belgian anthropologist who spent his scientific career in France, Claude Lévi Strauss: “Mankind has opted for monoculture; it is in the process of creating a mass civilization, as beetroot is grown in the mass. Henceforth, man’s daily bill of fare will consist only of this one item.” These immortal words regarding the human condition from one of the wise men of the last century more than show the danger that hangs over multiplicity of cultural expression, which is put under severe pressure nowadays, much more severe than at any other moment in history, to conform to a standard. And we must not turn a deaf ear to this warning because there is a lot at risk and, above all, those who are even more at risk than us are those who are going to follow after us on this planet. Are we really going to allow ourselves to lose, and to continue creating, centuries and centuries of symbolic human life, of original ways of interpreting the world around us, of representing our ideas and sentiments, of representing and enjoying the things and images that surround us, of looking and of moving our bodies, of daydreaming …? The situation is both paradoxical and complex. We can’t just accept the over-simplified idea that globalisation will only bring a loss of diversity because there is no doubt that it also...

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