19 Nov

Ideologies Between Ridicule and Subversion

Peter Berger once spoke of „ die grimmige Humorlosigkeit der revolutionaeren Ideologien”. Starting from this, I try to analyze ideologies in general and not only „revolutionary” ones. I shall discuss two characteristics of ideological discourse: 1. Its diffuse, invasive aspect, that ultimately suspends the separation between „public” and „private”. Ideologies end by pervading the sphere …
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12 Nov

Compassion and Sacrifice

The presentation will consist of two parts: The first one will explore the question of “how to think compassion as a co-operation between reason, passions and self-love”, while the second one will ask for the meaning of self-sacrifice in modern societies and try to outline possibilities of its overcoming. Modern moral theories often treat compassion …
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06 Nov

Understanding ‘Post-Truth’

In Western Europe, especially in France, after 1968 continental philosophy took a postmodern turn: a loss of faith not only in grand narratives, but also in a coherent subject, in stable meaning, and in absolute truth. Meaning—Jacques Derrida taught—flickers, subverts itself, is ever in flux. His philosophy of deconstruction represented, he wrote, “the least necessary …
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05 Nov

Historical Sociology, ‘Fortress Europe’ and the EU’s Frontier Politics

Frontiers have had a mythical and practical function in the era of modernity: in the former they are means of legitimation; in the latter they are a mechanism of control. This paper mobilises historical sociology to explore the temporal sequences in post-war development that have shaped the frontier politics of the European Union (EU). In …
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29 Oct

Lessons on War-related Scholarship and Engagement

The analysis of the war-related activism of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminists in the 1990s might seem at first glance as a too specific endeavour whose conclusions are irrelevant for the broader public, especially that which is not directly engaged with gender equality and feminism. A closer look at that activism reveals, however, valuable insights …
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22 Oct

Building “Hybrid” Democracies

How can we account for the particular evolution revealed by post-communist democracies? Is the phenomenon limited in time and space or are there reasons to expect mounting evidence of its extensiveness? The IWM hosts the project “Mechanism of Modernization in Central and Eastern Europe (MeMo – CEE)” to investigate the incomplete, disjointed, and intermittent process …
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17 Oct

The Cryptotheological Legacy of Hannah Arendt

As a political thinker, Hannah Arendt rejected theocracy and any kind of fundamentalism as nihilistic and as a mistaken response to the challenges of modernity. However, her heterodox, subversive reading of the Jewish and Christian traditions encourages us to seek inter-faith dialogue and secularity as platforms for the self-limitation of any authority, be it religious …
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17 Oct

Traces and Transitions to Hannah Arendt’s Unwritten Book on Love

 Although Arendt’s oeuvre commences with a book on the concept of love (in Augustin) she never published a book on love. Yet, Arendt’s unwritten book on love does exist; it will be reconstructed from a series of fascinating entries of her Denktagebuch. Whereas Arendt’s early writings on love form a juxtaposition – philosophy (her …
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15 Oct

Democracy Disputed: the Politics of African Protest

Africa is said to be experiencing its ‘third wave’ of mass protest. This follows a first wave that concluded with liberation from colonial rule and a second wave that responded to structural adjustment and ended in numerous multi-party elections. The new wave, seen by some authors as ‘an African uprising’, in contrast to a discourse …
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10 Oct

Political Change, Capital Mobility, and the Populist Threat to Democracy

 Politics has moved from parties of mass integration, through catch all parties, to cartel parties, to increasing fragmentation. Markets have moved from capital controls and embedded liberalism, to free capital movements and macroeconomic imbalances. These two movements seem to run in parallel even if they are not connected. Political elites have lost control over …
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