A Perspective on the Culture of Hanging Out

By Huiyu Chuang

For many young people around the world, Europe is not too unfamiliar as a travel or study destination. In the context of globalization, regardless in geography, economy, politics, art and popular culture, our lives more or less intertwine with others’.  As Euroculture students, we should have no problem adapting into this melting pot. I thought to myself, what would it be really like to live in Europe and with European students?

For many Asian families, being 25 years old when you start exploring the world is not too late of an age, especially after studying very hard to graduate from university and working in a company for some years, yet still unsure of what kind of life experience one really wants to have. Unlike me, almost all the classmates I met here have lived a cross-cultural life and possess study/volunteer experiences during their university education. Many of them have “dual identities” and regard themselves proudly as European, no less, or even more, than their nationalities. When these two kinds of people meet, culture shock is inevitable.
As a foreign student, I would like to share my observations on the culture of hanging out and making friends during my time in Strasbourg. Continue reading “A Perspective on the Culture of Hanging Out”

Respect and tolerance are not what we need for Europe’s diversity

Voltaire (http://voltaire.nlr.ru)
Voltaire (http://voltaire.nlr.ru)

Michiel Luining ᅵmichiel.luining@gmail.com

Today multiculturalism is said to have failed in Europe. We can recall the statement made by Angela Merkel in 2010 on the topic. Soon after, David Cameron also declared the end of multiculturalism, and similar remarks emerged in political debates in the Netherlands as well as in other countries. In recent times we have seen an increase of nationalist movements many of which are fuelled by anti-Islam and anti-immigrant sentiments. Simultaneously, we witnessed growing feelings of resent within immigrant and minority populations towards their host countries and cultures. All in all, it would seem that we are experiencing a downward spiral.

In response to this, idealistic calls have been made in favour of respect, tolerance, consensus and mutual understanding in order to transcend this last decade’s polarising cycle. However, these calls are wrong. Respect is not what we need, and neither are the current thoughts on tolerance. In order to sustain a democratic and tolerant society, we need to get rid of the naive mindset that lies beneath such claims; those that fail to consider realistic solutions and opportunities that are vital for a free society. In part, the problem lies in the multicultural categorisation that has taken place, and further still in the way is the concept of tolerance that is being used by many people noways.

“Respect is not what we need, and neither are the current thoughts on tolerance….”

Although it is difficult to discuss multiculturalism (as the word has many meanings), its basis lies in identifying groups based on political considerations – typically by ethnicity – in order to remove stigmatisation and exclusion in relation to such groups. Today, instead of accepting difference as an integral part of (considerate) co-existence, the liberal multicultural state facilitates rigid differences. Continue reading “Respect and tolerance are not what we need for Europe’s diversity”