Diego Fusaro is an Italian philosopher who teaches History of Philosophy at the San Raffaele University of Milan. He has lectured at Harvard University and has a book translated in English called Europe and Capitalism: Regaining the Future (Politics).
Below is a short video and transcript from his reflections on culture and globalisation. At a time in which cultural arguments are made to defend political unions based purely on neoliberal economic models, it is important to remember the difference between culture and economics. Political unions are principally made for political and economic purposes, not cultural ones. In confusing culture with political models derived from the sphere of economics we damage the original idea of culture itself, and we ultimately become accomplices to the anti-cultural project of economic globalisation: the destruction of cultural variety in the name of misunderstood notions of equality. This ultimately leads to a world with One dominant culture, which according to Fusaro’s logic means the end of all culture itself.
Culture can only Exist in a Plural Form. Against the Global One Culture Model
by Diego Fusaro
Culture can always only exist where there are at least two cultures in mutual dialogue. With that I mean that culture structurally exists as intercultural dialogue: as a dialogical relation respectful of otherness, produced through communication between different cultures in mutual dialogue.
Culture is never One: should there be One culture, for this reason, there would not be any culture. Culture always entails a horizontal relation among populations and cultures which relate among each other, having a dialogue through fruitful diversity. One must not mistake the idea of equality with the idea of levelling: correct equality characterises equal dignity among different people; incorrect equality, behind the name of equality, demands the neutralisation of diversities and imposes a One culture model.
One may say that capitalist globalisation utilises a false concept of equality, a false universality: in virtue of that the destruction of cultural differences among populations is preached as equality, so that all populations abandon their own cultures to access the One culture – which actually is a subculture – of economics, of consumerism, of commodity-form. So paradoxically, the culture of globalisation is by its own essence, the denial of culture itself, because it imposes to all the populations on the planet the One culture – which actually is a not culture, of consumerism and commercialisation. It asks every population to abandon their own culture in order to open itself to another one, and by doing so, it obtains for all populations the unavowable result of the denial of their cultures and of the creation of a neutral, empty space, deprived of symbols and culture, where the commodity-form may flow, without hindrance – neither real nor symbolic – in the Single world, unified as planetary market. This is why culture always entails a cultural difference: the diversity among cultures is what allows the human race, in its being unitary, to realise itself in the plurality of its cultural and linguistic expressions.
The human race is unitary – in opposition to delirious race theories- on the contrary it exists in the plurality of its own cultures, which are all expressions of the only human race that exists in the proliferation of cultures. That allows us to say that globalisation is by its own essence, an anti-cultural project which destroys the right to difference and the right to culture.
Read Diego Fusaro’s Europe and Capitalism: Regaining the Future (Politics)