Restarting from scratch: humanist initiatives as an option for strengthening civil society in the new member states of the European Union

  • J. R. Julia Doets

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


Topic: Inclusion and exclusion are direct results of how the concepts of human dignity, equality and justice are valued. This always held true for the European Union (EU) since it was formed, but is even more topical now that recently twelve new countries of Central- and Eastern Europe have joined. Therefore at the moment, a major process of reorientation on the question how to construct stable societies is going on. Research question: In this essay research is done on the question whether - and if so how - humanist initiatives might be an option for strengthening civil society in the new member states. Conclusion: All together one can say that in the effort to integrate - and therewith include - the new European member states as well as possible into the new European Union, the rebuilding of civil society is crucial. Humanism seems to be able to attribute to that, by the fact that some core values of this philosophy of life, of this movement that started in the Renaissance and goes back to the ancient times, are similar to the ones needed for the development of civil society. Those key-notes being: autonomy, solidarity, and responsibility. Another explanation for the fact that humanism seems to successfully function as a source of inspiration for the development of common European ideas how to organize society, is because of the common history Western, Northern, Middle and Eastern Europe share in this tradition. It reaffirms the common roots all those parts of Europe share as part of their cultural and historical background.
Date of Award1 Jan 2004
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorD. J. van Houten (Supervisor) & H. A. M. Manschot (Supervisor)

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