- TALKS & THOUGHTS
A debate in the context of "Domini Public"
Democracy yesterday, today, tomorrow: Crisis and prospects
31 May 2015
Everyone is talking about a crisis of democracy.Can we still hope for a resurgence of democracy, and if so how is this to come about?
Everyone is talking about a crisis of democracy. The elements of the crisis are many and operate on multiple levels, from the national decision-making process, which is gradually moving beyond the reach of popular democratic control, to the steady erosion and undermining of the institutions of representation, the unequal distribution of power between the many and the few, the degrading of public space, and political cynicism. And the crisis has manifested itself on multiple levels, too, spreading upwards from the local and the national to the ‘democratic deficit’ of the EU and the political consequences of globalization, whose symptoms include political alienation, corruption, extremism, and the emergence of the struggle between populism and anti-populism as the key ideological fault line in contemporary society. But how can we evaluate this crisis? How is it interconnected with the economic crisis? How does it intersect with the historical evolution and implementations of the democratic ideal? Have we already passed irreversibly into a post-democratic era? Can we still hope for a resurgence of democracy, and if so how is this to come about? Is populism a threat, or might it serve as a correctional movement with the potential to reverse the crisis facing democracy?
Colin Crouch: Professor Emeritus of the University of Warwick and external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies at Cologne (‘How can we best challenge post-democracy?’)
John P. McCormick: Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago (‘The Contemporary Crisis of Democracy and the Populist Cry of Pain’)
Chantal Mouffe: Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London (‘Radical Democracy and Agonistic Politics’)
Scientific oversight & co-ordination:
Yannis Stavrakakis: Professor of Political Discourse Analysis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
The conversation is held in English with simultaneous translation into Greek.
Colin Crouch is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Warwick and external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies at Cologne. He is vice-president for social sciences of the British Academy. He has published within the fields of comparative and economic sociology, and contemporary issues in British and European politics. His most recent books include Post-Democracy
(Polity, 2004); Capitalist Diversity and Change: Recombinant Governance and Institutional Entrepreneurs
(2005); The Strange Non-death of Neoliberalism
(Polity, 2011); Making Capitalism Fit for Society
(Polity, 2013); and Governing Social Risks in Post-Crisis Europe
(Edward Elgar, 2015).
John P. McCormick
John P. McCormick is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Machiavellian Democracy
(Cambridge University Press, 2011); Carl Schmitt's Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology
(Cambridge University Press, 1997); Weber, Habermas and Transformations of the European State: Constitutional, Social and Supranational Democracy
(Cambridge University Press, 2006); and numerous articles on the history of political thought, democratic theory and constitutional law.
Chantal Mouffe is Professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London. She has taught and researched in many universities throughout Europe, North and South America, and she is a corresponding member of the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. She is the editor of Gramsci and Marxist Theory
(Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979); Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community
(Verso, 1992); Deconstruction and Pragmatism
(Routledge, 1996); and The Challenge of Carl Schmitt
(Verso, 1999); the co-author with Ernesto Laclau of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics
(Verso, 1985); and the author of The Return of the Political
(Verso, 1993); The Democratic Paradox
(Verso, 2000); On the Political
(Routledge, 2005) and Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically
Yannis Stavrakakis is Professor of Political Discourse Analysis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His research primarily focuses on contemporary political theory (with emphasis on psychoanalytic and poststructuralist approaches) and on the analysis of ideology and discourse in late modern societies. He is the author of Lacan and the Political
(Routledge, 1999) and The Lacanian Left
(Edinburgh University Press/ SUNY Press, 2007), co-author of Populism, Anti-Populism and Crisis
(Nefeli, 2012) and co-editor of Discourse Theory and Political Analysis
(Manchester University Press, 2000) and The Political in Contemporary Art
(Ekkremes, 2008). He is Principal Investigator of the research project “POPULISMUS: Populist Discourse and Democracy” (http://www.populismus.gr