Media Mentions

Membership and Identity (23rd Tischner Debate)

Liberal Culture · 10 November 2015
Intellectuals and politicians will participate in the 23rd Tischner Debate, the latest event in a well-known series of public discussions. It will take place in the Column Hall of the Faculty of History of the University of Warsaw (26/28 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, Warsaw) on 18th November 2015 at 6 pm.

As the refugee and immigration crisis intensifies, questions of identity, membership and solidarity become central. Social exclusion has decisive effects both on the group that excludes and on those excluded, shaping the identities of both who ‘we’ are and how ‘they’ are defined. The practice of exclusion springs from, and reinforces, one familiar kind of solidarity: the kind that unites people by virtue of their perceived similarities. But there is another kind of solidarity: the kind that unites people in spite of their perceived differences. To what extent and in what contexts is the first kind of solidarity to be valued and when is the second kind desirable and feasible? Or can the one only be promoted at the expense of the other? The two kinds of solidarity are often posited as mutually exclusive: Christian Europe closes itself to non-Christian no-Europeans in the name of solidarity among Europeans. How is integration of those defined as different possible? What models of political integration have worked in other times and places?

Members of the panel are:

  • Steven Lukes, a political and social theorist, a professor of politics and sociology at New York University, Krzysztof Michalski Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna (IWM)
  • Jyotirmaya Sharma, a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad (India), Visiting Fellow at the IWM
  • Małgorzata Fuszara, a lawyer and sociologist, Secretary of State, Polish Government’s Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment
  • Konstanty Gebert, a columnist and an international reporter at Gazeta Wyborcza, Associate Fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations, Board member of the Remembrance and Future Foundation

The discussion will be opened by Karolina Wigura, head of the political section at Kultura Liberalna. The debate will be jointly moderated by Marcin Król, Professor of History of Ideas and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of Warsaw, and Shalini Randeria, Rector of the IWM and Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

The 23rd Tischner Debate is jointly organized by the Institute of Human Sciences and University of Warsaw, and the Kultura Liberalna, generously supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The event is held under the honorable patronage of the Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and with the media support of the Gazeta Wyborcza. Entrance is free.

For more information, please see: and

About Tischner Debates

The event is part of the Józef Tischner Debates, a series of public debates in Warsaw, jointly launched by the IWM and Warsaw University in 2005 in memory of the Polish priest and philosopher Józef Tischner, founding president of the IWM. The first 20 debates took place between 2005 and 2010 and included discussions by outstanding intellectuals and important public figures such as Giuliano Amato, Ralf Dahrendorf, Joschka Fischer, Bronisław Geremek, Simon Peres, Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, and Adam Zagajewski on topics of societal relevance, such as the future of Europe, climate change, and the public role of religion. The debates used to be chaired by Professor Marcin Król and Krzysztof Michalski, Founding Rector of the IWM. The latter’s death led to a short hiatus in the series. The series was relaunched in October 2014 with the 21st Tischner Debate on ‘Illiberal democracy’.

Visit Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna website:

Visit Kultura Liberalna website: