The International Research Group for Culture and Dialogue (IRGCD) aims at creating a network of institutions to foster academic research in the field of “culture and dialogue.”
The idea of creating a Research Group that explores the role played by dialogue in cultural formations comes from the intimate conviction that if more people understood the nature of dialogue there would be fewer problems in the world. To many, this statement is self-evident. Why, then, are there so many problems in the world? A predicament, a tragedy, or a disaster perceived as such occurs when one’s will or the force of things becomes so overwhelming that it threatens the life of those whose consciousness makes them realise their plight. In other words, the problems of the world stem from human beings’ inability to see that their very survival depends on their willingness to negotiate with otherness, be it nature or other fellow humans.
Natural and human-made disasters as well as socio-political unrests are typical albeit terribly sad examples. The ones who dictate and act for their own survival regardless of the existence of otherness soon realise, often too late, that there cannot be such a survival. To realise this is simply to understand the nature of dialogue. The principle is at work in all fields and at all levels. Thus the issue at stake is to find ways of relating to nature and fellow humans that both acknowledge and allow the complementary and reciprocal character of such a relationship – a sort of equilibrium made of differences and sharing in order to handle the inferno, inexorability, and creativity of the spiral of life. This is what will hopefully constitute the spirit of the International Research Group for Culture and Dialogue.
Far from being restricted to academic exercises and heuristic purposes, the IRGCD seeks to convey the spirit of dialogue in its multifarious cultural facets, whether in the fields of philosophy, art, language, politics, religion, or science. It offers a field for thoughts on dialogue to be sown as much as for the cultures of dialogue to grow. The IRGCD also seeks that complementary balance imagined so beautifully by Tzvetan Todorov in La Signature Humaine (2009) – the balance between Mikhail Bakhtin’s theoretical approach to dialogue and the dialogical life of Roman Jakobson.
The main publishing platform of the IRGCD is the journal Culture and Dialogue, which was launched in March 2011.
As a Research Group, it seeks to attract individuals, scholars and organisations (not necessarily academic ones) who wish to work collaboratively on shared projects such as publications, conferences, and even humanitarian actions, for example in conjunction with UNESCO.
The IRGCD seeks to develop and coordinate relevant research internationally. The research focus is clearly on the concept of “dialogue” in its various cultural forms, including in philosophy, language, art, design, science, religion, politics, history and environmental studies.