What education, what cultural baggage do young people need today if they are to become citizens of Europe and of a global society? The concept of cosmopolitan Bildung, introduced in this book, aims to answer that question by exploring how Erasmus students, today's heirs of the Age of Enlightenment’s 'Grand Tour’, learn about other European cultures.
For this generation, merely being familiar with your own culture is not enough. Opening up one’s circle of sociability by means of international encounters, learning to read the codes and behaviour of other lands, finding one’s way in the different European societies and at different levels (infranational, national and transnational): these are the pillars of an education that places value on the virtue of an open mind.
But the cosmopolitism of young Europeans must not be seen as a universal citizenship. It expresses more a desire to reach a horizon of universality by encountering other ways of being and thinking, while remaining strongly attached to the homeland. Hence, it is clearly understood that to call yourself European, you must begin with a national identity.
Vincenzo Cicchelli is an associate professor at the Paris Descartes University, researcher with Gemass (Paris-Sorbonne/CNRS) and general secretary of the European Sociological Association. His books include Adolescences méditerranéennes (2007), co-authored with Marc Breviglieri : Deux pays, deux jeunesses ? (2008) with Olivier Galland and Alessandro Cavalli, and De la mondialisation au cosmopolitisme (2011) with Gérôme Truc.