What National Identity?

The "What National Identity?" workshop in Sibiu was the beginning of a series of events dedicated to the delicate issues of identity, nationalism and what distinguishes Romanians from other peoples in Europe. It touched on several themes related to the topic of national identity such as the Romanian character, old and new traditions, our cultural and historical heritage and cultural imperialism. A separate session addressed the topic of cosmopolitanism in its moral, political and economic forms. The workshop and related performances and exhibits were the Aspen Romania contribution to Sibiu, the European Cultural Co-Capital in 2007.
Points raised in discussion:
A nation is a contract at the intersection between politics and culture while national identity is almost entirely a cultural contract;
Globalization makes identity a very dynamic concept; it reduces the role of nations but, at the same, makes room for the concept of "localism";
The Romanian people emerged from both political and ideological roots; so far, we have existed more as a people and less as a nation; today we are experiencing a period of hesitation and confusion;
Romanian economic life is perverted by the habit of bribery and risks becoming a second hand version of capitalism;
Myths and stereotypes hide the true nature of Romanians and diminish the level of objectivity in self evaluation;
The rendez-vous with Europe is a crucial moment for our future; spiritually, this is a major challenge for all Romanians, being like a meeting between the Gospel and the Legal Norm; we still have a provincial attitude compared with other Western nations;
The basis of globalization is Cosmopolitanism which goes beyond national barriers such as nationalism and patriotism;
Romanian society is not yet prepared to embrace the concept of cosmopolitanism; creativity is not one of the strengths of its people; a relatively low level of tolerance limits the creativity of Romanians;

Aspen Community

  • Mircea Geoana

    Mircea Geoana is the founder...

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    CEO, OMV Petrom S.A.
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  • Florin Pogonaru

    President, Romanian Businessmen's Association

  • Roberto Musneci

    Senior Partner, Serban & Musneci
    Dr. Roberto...