19th Karlsruhe Dialogues – Speakers

Global Civil Society: A New Kind of Citizenship in the Global Age

Prof. Dr. Martin Albrow


Prof. Dr. Martin Albrow is professor emeritus from the University of Wales in Cardiff, where he was the chair of sociological theory until 1987. Since then he has held many posts including the Eric Voegelin chair in Munich, visiting chairs in the London School of Economics and Political Science, the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and the Beijing Foreign Studies University. He has also held fellowships in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, and the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” in Bonn, where he is currently a senior fellow. He was founding editor of International Sociology, journal of the International Sociological Association, and is honorary vice president of the British Sociological Association. His home with his wife is in London. His books include Bureaucracy: Key Concepts in Political Science (1970); Max Weber’s Construction of Social Theory (1990); Globalization, Knowledge and Society (1990, ed. with Elizabeth King); The Global Age (1996), 2nd ed. Das Globale Zeitalter (2007); and he co-edited Global Civil Society in 2006/7, 2007/8, and 2011.





1. What contribution to the quality of life and vibrancy of a city can civil society make through active citizen participation?

Civil society is the active search for shared goals and values, bringing together the diversity of interests and cultures of a city’s population who might otherwise pursue lives in ignorance of each other.

2. In how far do cities have a responsibility for the coexistence of cultures and the emergence of a collective identity?

Cities attract diversity, and in projecting a unique image to the wider world they signal the ever-present possibility of creating a new unity. Promoting local harmony and community co-operation helps to boost the integrity of a city’s image worldwide.

3. “If Mayors Ruled the World” (Benjamin R. Barber) …
How could they solve problems due to national blockades of international politics putting them into perspective and promoting new forms of intercultural understanding?

City leaders need a cosmopolitan outlook to project their city’s identity across national boundaries and with other cities worldwide, but also to convince their own communities that they listen to and understand the diversity of their cultures. In this way they can set an example to national politicians.