Interpreting Basic Policy Concepts Across Cultural Boundaries

Abstract

The understanding of basic policy concepts between different contexts is a highly important quest. Since we all live in different surroundings and are subject to different traditions, cultures and history, the vocabulary we use is filtered through different perceptions we hold. Special cases for culturally determined explanations are political concepts. Words such as identity, democracy, sovereignty or cooperation, although widely used by policy makers or political analysts, bear a number of socially created meanings which not only discourage the possibility of one shared and similarly understood definition, but also hinder their conversion to practice. Although conceptualization efforts might help to deepen our understanding of these basic policy concepts, in order to overcome problems stemming from differing interpretations, a global intercultural dialogue is needed. The engagement of approaches coming from various sociopolitical and cultural backgrounds (principially from Western and Eastern philosophical  traditions) is a first step in improving our understanding of the world.
My speech at 2013 ACAS conference will present the outcomes of European Union's research grant project "LIBEAC" (Liberalism between Europe and China), which (also) aims at building intercultural dialogue by 1, introducing 'foreign' concepts (such as zilu, jiangjing, amakudari etc.) into Western political vocabulary and 2, analysing Western terms (such as freedom, multilateralism, democracy etc.) in their non-western surroundings. The ACAS speech will introduce the project, promote intercultural discursive approach to international political theory and introduce interpretation differences on the exemplary word of "multilateralism" (多国間主義) set in European Union's and Japan's contemporary discourses.



Author Information
Michal Kolmas, Charles University, Czech Republic

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2013
Stream: Asian Studies

This paper is part of the ACAS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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