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Avner de-Shalit and Sunder Katwala - Does the Identity of a City Matter in a Global Age?

Tuesday 21st February 2012 6:30pm - 7:45pm Bristol, Foyles, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol, BS1 3BU Literary Event, Free Event

Cities shape the lives and outlooks of billions of people, yet they have been overshadowed in contemporary political thought by nation-states, identity groups and concepts such as justice and freedom. Avner de-Shalit's new book (written with Daniel Bell), The Spirit of Cities, revives the classical idea that a city expresses its own distinctive ethos or values.

In the ancient world, Athens was synonymous with democracy and Sparta represented military discipline; Avner de-Shalit explores how this classical idea can be applied to today's cities, and explains why philosophy and the social sciences need to rediscover the spirit of cities. Cities investigated include Jerusalem (religion), Montreal (language), Singapore (nation building), Hong Kong (materialism), Beijing (political power), Oxford (learning), Berlin (tolerance and intolerance), Paris (romance) and New York (ambition).

Drawing upon the richly varied histories of each city, as well as novels, poems, biographies, tourist guides, architectural landmarks and the authors' own personal reflections and insights, they show how the ethos of each city is expressed in political, cultural, and economic life, and also how pride in a city's ethos can oppose the homogenizing tendencies of globalization and curb the excesses of nationalism.

De-Shalit is joined by Sunder Katwala, director of the new think tank British Future, which looks at identity, integration, migration and opportunity (www.britishfuture.org/), and former general secretary of the Fabian Society.


Venue: Upstairs at Foyles, Cabot Circus, Bristol
Tickets: Free but pre-booking is essential. To reserve a place go to: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2790262751. Please note that you will need to print out your ticket and present this on the door to gain entry.

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