Thank you for these unforgettable ten editions!

Pistoia – Dialogues on Man ends the tenth edition of this festival of contemporary anthropology - promoted by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia e Pescia and the Municipality of Pistoia, created and directed by Giulia Cogoli since the very first edition.

Coexistence means ‘to live together’ respecting each other. But how and why do we humans live together and form societies? What connections do we establish with other living beings, and more generally with the world we live in?

We chose to devote this edition to the issue of coexistence in order to draw attention to man’s relational dimension and his character as a ‘political animal.’ Speakers will examine society’s basic building block—the family—in all its recent changes. They will focus on the way social bonds are formed and how different societies have organized their collective lives at various points in time. They will probe the relationship between coexistence and conflict, and evaluate the performance of our contemporary society in making coexistence possible in our rapidly changing globalized world.

For societies are not a given, and the building of coexistence requires hard work. It is increasingly problematic to make room for fair and authentic relations in societies where interpersonal bonds are growing weaker as they tend to be mediated by digital media, which rapidly erode the narratives at the foundations of every community.

To counter the illusion of connectedness engendered by ‘supermodernity’—a notion introduced by French anthropologist Marc Augé to describe the space-time we live in—a kind of new humanism would be necessary. New forms of social empathy are needed if human societies are to live and thrive.

Pistoia Dialogues on Man continue their journey in 2019 with an investigation of the practices and languages of coexistence. For this is the Dialogues’ strength: to offer a broad and multi-faceted view of human society and culture with the help of some of the leading contemporary scholars and researchers. Ten years down the road, we hope that the care we put in preparing our programmes and selecting our speakers helps make this year’s edition truly memorable.

This festival offers a new way of performing cultural analyses, novel both for the anthropological approach (it was a forerunner in adopting this method), and for the production of cultural content. Indeed, a continued commitment to offer audiences conferences, shows and unusual encounters over the years has seen the festival grow, complemented by several other initiatives: a collection of 13 books published by UTET, a large archive of audio and video recordings, a school project that has involved approximately 25,000 students and a series of major photographic exhibitions.

Cultures are always work in progress, constantly evolving, and cultural exchanges are the rule, not the exception. The festival believes that culture makes us better human beings.

Giulia Cogoli, Creator and Director Pistoia Dialogues on Man

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