ISCI 2015

First International Symposium on Cultural Inclusion
ISCI 2015

Cultural Inclusion in China and the World. Interrelations between the protection of cultural identity, social development and political stability

Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)
27-29 August 2015


China’s legislation on ethnic populations aims at protecting the cultural heritage and economical development of her minority groups. National integration as yet another important goal of state policies sometimes appears to conflict with such aims, expressed by dissatisfaction with the state bodies’ attitude and occasional resistance against actions in minority areas. From the government’s side, this dissatisfaction is incomprehensible as the legal protection is deemed being sufficient. To examine the underlying reasons for an obvious misunderstanding between the Chinese state (and also the social majority) on one side and local groups who feel their cultural identity being challenged on the other hand, discussing the concept of cultural inclusion may be one of the most promising.

The idea of cultural inclusion as a concept we derive from the discussion about “cultural security”, a term that has mostly come up in areas of conflict and initially been understood as a matter of protecting cultural artifacts (”antiquities“). Modern multinational states, however, increasingly understand the importance of holistic approaches to the protection of the cultural heritage of groups (of minority groups as well as of the majority). In this sense cultural inclusion (or cultural security) may not just be understood as consisting of legal measures to protect, but rather as undertakings to create an environment in which minority groups feel their cultural identity be taken seriously and therefore safeguarded in the long run. For states as well, the protection of local groups’ cultural security – i.e. cultural inclusion – will support the creation of social and political security and therefore stability. This elucidates that the interests of local minorities and national aspirations of a state government can well come together.

Socially, cultural identity influences security in regions of political conflict. Cultural heritage, therefore, has a role in national security and political stability – as long as cultural heritage includes intangible heritage and indigenous knowledge. The symposium offered a platform for discussions on the fundamentals of cultural protection in China, of the advancements and the shortcomings of respective policies and interrelation between legislation, attitudes and the degree of reliance of such policies and their prospective repercussions.

For advances on this field a comparative perspective needs to be taken. We therefore also encouraged presentations that related to problems and discussions of issues of cultural inclusion in other multinational regions of the world. Major topics for the discussion at our symposium focused on:

  • Defining “cultural inclusion” (or “cultural security”)
  • What kind of elements does “cultural inclusion” comprise? (= backgrounds of cultural protection like legislation, social acceptance, public attitudes, etc.)
  • What kind of circumstances may challenge “cultural inclusion”?
  • How can “cultural inclusion” be supported and managed?
  • Agents of “cultural inclusion” and “cultural security”: civil society and the state
  • Case studies: description and analysis of cases where cultural inclusion/security was challenged (social/ political repercussions)
  • Case studies: description and analysis of cases where cultural inclusion/security was strengthened

Convenors of the ISCI 2015 were:

Andreas Gruschke                      Huang Yunsong 黄云松      

Institute of Social Development and Western China Development Studies,
Sichuan University, Chengdu
四川大学社会发展与西部开发研究院, 中国·四川 成都市武侯区

Haiyan Hu-von Hinüber  & Anne Brennig

Konfuzius-Institut (Confucius Institute) at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg

It was jointly organized by:

Andreas Gruschke
Institute of Social Development and Western China Development Studies,
Sichuan University, Chengdu

Haiyan Hu-von Hinüber 胡海燕
Konfuzius-Institut (Confucius Institute)
at the
Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg

Janina Cünnen
SLI (Language Teaching Centre) in the Department of Philology,
Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg


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