The culture war is a concept developed in the U.S. used to grasp the country’s cultural polarization. As often with U.S. hegemony in academia, the concept has travelled to Europe. As other loaded concepts like populism and illiberalism, the notion of culture wars is often used not in analytical terms but in political debates to delegitimize the opponent. In this series published between May 2022 and May 2023 – now compiled as an e-book – we looked at some of the current cultural debates in Europe, such as race, LGBT, reproductive rights, cancel culture, woke, Covid-19, climate change, and take a reflexive stance at how they are morally loaded – both on the conservative and the so-called progressive side, both in political movements and discourses as well as in academia.
While we, scholars who initiated this project, also have our own positions in the addressed debates, we strive to provide a broad intellectual platform for different theoretical approaches. While we are aware that academia is embedded in society, including current power hegemonies, we believe that one can and should draw a line between academic knowledge production and social movements and politics. Where this line is to be drawn is subject to constant negotiations and the debate is not settled yet, nor will it probably ever be.