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Philosophical Seminar of Barcelona

Beyond Identity

Lecture by Vicent Descombes and Daniel Weinstock



The Fifth Philosophical Seminar in Barcelona aims to explore the questions of individual identity and collective identity. In the opening session at the CCCB participants will discuss the function and limits of the subject’s identity and group identity from a political standpoint and, more precisely, within the framework of the contemporary state as a basic space of recognition. Now, with the pro-independence mobilisation in Catalonia, we shall reflect on the complicities and contradictions arising from identity-related demands and struggles for social emancipation, which are also happening in the present-day context.

In the Arts Santa Mònica centre, we shall consider the role of the media in defining and creating identities, and strategies of resistance against powers seeking to impose uniformity on individual, collective and cultural identity. Our aim is to highlight one of the crucial issues of this year’s seminar: the goals shared between endeavours to uphold identity and the different kinds of struggles for social equality.

Finally, with the screening in the French Institute of the Nurith Aviv’s film From Language to Language, we shall reflect on the different relations between language and state. How is it possible to confront and survive the conflicts that can arise between a mother tongue and a state language? What linguistic policies are established in the core of a state? What political resistance does language offer? With these questions we shall ponder the relationships established by monolingualism and plurilingualism with the essence and limits of the contemporary state.

First Session – The Limits of Identity
CCCB - Tuesday 2 December

7 p.m. Presentation of the Fifth Philosophical Seminar by Felip Martí-Jufresa and Xavier Bassas
7.15 p.m. Vicent Descombes (philosopher)
7.45 p.m. Daniel Weinstock (philosopher)
8.15 p.m. Questions and debate

Second Session – Identity or Equality?
Arts Santa Mònica - Wednesday 3 December

5 p.m. Laia Altarriba (journalist)
5.30 p.m. Manuel Delgado (anthropologist)
6 p.m. Debate

7 p.m. Vladimir Safatle (philosopher)
7.30 p.m. Fina Birulés (philosopher)
8 p.m. Debate

Third Session – Language among Identities
Institut français-Barcelone – Thursday 4 December

6.30 Screening of the film Missafà Lessafà (From Language to Language, 2004), 55 minutes
7.30 p.m. Panel session with Nurith Aviv (film maker), Arnau Pons (poet and critic), Joana Sabadell (literary critic) and Manuel Forcano (Hebrew scholar and poet)
8.15 p.m. Questions and discussion
9 p.m. Closing remarks for the Fifth Philosophical Seminar

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