Audio Files

Buch Rezension: Timothy Snyder: “Und wie elektrische Schafe träumen wir”, WDR 3 Buchkritik, 21. August 2020

Corinne Orlowski, Rezension von: Timothy Snyder (2020): “Und wie elektrische Schafe träumen wir”, Passagen Verlag, WDR 3 Buchkritik, 21.August 2020. So wie ein lädierter Apfel Fliegen anlockt, zieht menschlicher Leichtsinn Algorithmen an. Digitale Wesen nutzen unsere Selbstüberschätzung aus, bestärken unsere falschen Überzeugungen, instrumentalisieren unsere sexuellen Ängste, reduzieren uns auf isolierte Tiere und veranlassen uns schließlich …
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Governance Without Hierarchy

The world is full of areas of limited statehood where central state institutions are too weak to implement and enforce central decisions and/or lack the monopoly over the means of violence. We argue, however, that the absence of hierarchical governance by the state does not equal anarchy and chaos. Areas of limited statehood are neither ungoverned nor ungovernable. We find huge variation in the extent to which rules and regulations are being implemented and/or public services are being provided in areas of limited statehood. We explain this variation by focusing a) on legitimacy as a social relationship between those being governed and the “governors” providing the latter with a “license to govern;” b) social trust as the social glue among members of relevant communities enabling them to govern and to solve collective action problems.
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The Backlash Against Women’s Rights

Women throughout the world continue to face discrimination, are denied equal access to participation in public and political life and suffer sexual and gender-based violence and abuse in public places and at home. The aim of the discussion ‘The Backlash Against Women’s Rights’ was to highlight the rise in violence against women in current conflict zones around the world as well as to bring attention to the ‘watering down’ of international agreements on the protection of women’s rights signed by governments of the countries which are not necessarily torn by military conflicts, but undergo a politically orchestrated revival of ‘traditional values’.
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No Self-Determination Without Justification. The Case for Czechoslovak Independence in the First World War

André Liebich’s project deals with self-determination in the long 19th century. His last case study concerns the discursive argument on behalf of Czechoslovak independence during the Great War. What made it possible to “think Czechoslovakia,” previously utterly unimagined but within four years a recognized sovereign state? I consider agency, notably, the part played by Masaryk and English advocates, particularly Wickham Steed, foreign editor of The Times and R.W. Seton-Watson. I sketch their portrayal of the Czechs as a nation of Protestant spirit that contrasts with Austria-Hungary as a decadent, Catholic, dynastic estate, moreover, complicit in Pan-German aims as encapsulated in the slogan “Berlin-Bagdad.” Most brilliantly, one of the few original Entente war aims, the restoration of small nations, was reinterpreted to mean the creation of Czechoslovakia.
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Die unsichtbare Faust des Marktes

Während sich in den “goldenen drei Wachstumsjahrzehnten” nach dem 2. Weltkrieg eine erfolgreiche Unternehmensorganisation etabliert zu haben schien, scheint heute das Innenleben der Betriebe aus den Fugen geraten zu sein. Die aufmerksamen Beobachter erleben nun eine beschleunigte Abfolge immer neuer Managementmoden und ausgefeilterer Methoden der Reorganisation. Unterschiedliche Arbeitsverhältnisse wie Leiharbeit, Werkverträge stehen neben den etablierten Stammarbeitskräften: Selbst Manager und Betriebsräte wissen oft kaum mehr, wer noch zu den Organisationsmitgliedern zählt und wer nicht.
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Have Ukraine’s Reforms Failed?

Second only to “war”, "reform" is probably the word most frequently bandied about by Ukraine's leadership. President Petro Poroshenko announced de-oligarchisation, yet the nation sees the rise of new oligarchs. Politicians talk about fighting corruption, yet nobody is jailed for corruption. And so the story goes on. Does all this mean that Ukraine's reform efforts have failed? Are there any success stories? Journalists Katya Gorchinskaya of RFE/RL and Cathrin Kahlweit of Süddeutsche Zeitung will together try to answer those and other questions.
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Resilient Neoliberalism?

Historically, major economic crises have also always been turning points for policy paradigms. Crises were moments for critical choices, when established paradigms collapsed, and alternatives were tested. In this respect, the Great Recession seems to differ. A growing literature tries to grapple with the surprising resilience of neoliberalism even after its spectacular failure as manifested in the financial crisis.
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How Women Survived Post-Communism (and Didn’t Laugh)

The situation for women in societies caught up in the post-’89 transition is complicated, notes Slavenka Drakulic. On the one hand, they now stand to lose rights that were, at least formally, established during the communist regime. On the other hand, women’s position in society has been undermined everywhere in Europe – in East and West alike. The financial crisis has struck hard, and – as so often – women have been struck harder.
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Democracy in Decline

Marc Plattner, founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, on FM4 Reality Check. Plattner explains why democracy is failing to take root in parts of Asia and the Middle East.
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Understanding the Rise of the Islamic State

Less than a year after it announced its ambition to recreate the Caliphate, the Islamic State has shot at the top of international security affairs. Straddling two countries, Iraq and Syria, where it swiftly conquered large swathes of territory, the organisation previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) has continued to represent the primary threat to regional stability in the Middle east and North Africa and has increased its influence towards Asia and Africa. How to make sense of such accelerated rise? Where is the group coming from and where is it heading? What is the nature of its relation with Al Qaeda? Finally, what can be done in the face of such an actor and the menace it represents.
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Kapitalismus ist nicht demokratisch und Demokratie nicht kapitalistisch

Die Logiken von Kapitalismus und Demokratie unterscheiden sich grundsätzlich. Krisenhafte Spannungen sind die Folge. Kapitalismus floriert auch in nicht-demokratischen Systemen. Andererseits hat es Demokratie bisher nur in Verbindung mit kapitalistischen Wirtschaftssystemen gegeben. Unter welchen Bedingungen erweisen sich Kapitalismus und Demokratie als kompatibel oder gar als affin?
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Malraux’s Quest: Fraternity and the Death of Humanism in the First World War

In this lecture, centered around André Malraux's evocative statement "I am searching for that crucial region of the soul where absolute evil hangs in balance against fraternity," I explore different facets of the destruction of fraternity in the First World War. Through a set of poetical, political, and philosophical meditations on the conflict between fraternity and evil, I propose a conjecture on the challenge of Manichaeism for the 20th century, and beyond.
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After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall and German re-unification have changed the balance of power inside the European Union. A “division of labour” that granted France the political leadership on the continent while Germany was the foremost economic power became obsolete. With the enlargement of the Union towards Central and Eastern Europe Germany became the center of the Union, both economically and politically.
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The Populist Challenge to Representative Democracy

Populism is a relevant issue in contemporary politics and a theme subjected to contradictory interpretations. The paper proposes an analytical rendering of populism and argues that the components that make it a recognizable phenomenon are simplification and polarization of political divisions in the view of achieving a deeper unification of the masses against the existing elites and under an organic narrative that most of the time a leader embodies.
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The Kremlin’s New Ideology: Forceful but Fuzzy

The ideology of Putin’s regime can be described both by what it articulates or implies, and by what it avoids or omits. For example, it proclaims Russia’s greatness and emphasizes the perception of the West as a hostile force. Russia’s “special path” is its major tenet, but the nature of this “special path” is left vague.
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The Climate Question I – III

Dipesh Chakrabarty’s IWM Lectures in Human Sciences 2014 adressed the anthropogenic climate change and its implications for historical and political thinking.
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The Dilemmas of Protest Politics

In the period 2009-2014 political protests have erupted in more than 70 countries of the world, both democracies and non-democracies. In most of the cases the protests were led neither by a political party or trade union. The protesters were openly anti-institutional and mistrustful towards both the market and the state, and they lacked any coherent ideology.  In this lecture I will claim that these “movements of mistrust” do not claim power and do not offer political alternative to the status quo but they do represent an effective strategy of citizen empowerment in the age of globalization when the power of citizens derives mostly from their ability to disrupt.
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A New Eurasian Union: Mission Impossible?

What is the future of the Eurasian Union presently promoted by Russia’s authorities? Vladislav Inozemtsev's lecture focused on the economic and financial aspects of the Union and discussed various obstacles related to its implementation.
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Der Geschmack von Asche

Die Jahrzehnte kommunistischer Herrschaft in den osteuropäischen Ländern haben in praktisch jeder Familie Fragen aufgeworfen, die nach dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhangs irgendwie beantwortet werden müssen. Diese “posttraumatischen” Störungen in Ländern und Gesellschaften, die nach ihrer Identität suchen, sind das Thema dieses Buchs, das die Autorin Marci Shore gemeinsam mit Martin Pollack am 4. März am IWM vorgestellt hat.
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Ist die Moderne wirklich ein Vorgang der Entzauberung?

Max Webers Formel von der Entzauberung der Welt hat sich wie ein Lauffeuer verbreitet. Dabei wird sie meistens als eine These über die Moderne missverstanden, d.h. als Behauptung, die Moderne sei wesentlich ein Vorgang der Entzauberung. Weber vertritt allerdings eine ganz andere These, nämlich diejenige, dass es sich bei der Selbstbeschreibung moderner Akteure als entzaubert, um eine Form der Illusion handelt. In meinem Vortrag werde ich dies erörtern und für eine Philosophie der Soziologie plädieren, die einen aktualisierten Begriff von „Ideologie“ ins Zentrum rückt.
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Why Does Karl Marx Matter?

The purpose of this lecture is to take Karl Marx seriously as a philosopher and social critic, inquire about Marxist traditions that have been lost (and found), consider with the distance of two decades the question of the Marxist character of the Soviet Union and its satellites, and to argue that the Marxist tradition is far more present in contemporary discourse and politics than we imagine. If Marx is indeed still with us, then we have little choice but to consider which Marx and why, and then to ask whether attention to the original philosophy might help us evaluate the legacy.
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Real Problems – and How to Respond to Them

Populism is not just some form of political pathology. It also points at real problems, both in how democracy is justified as an ideal and in how actually existing democracies conduct themselves. For instance: what legitimately constitutes the boundaries of the “people”? The last lecture tried to make some headway in addressing these problems. The series as a whole finished with some thoughts on how best to respond to populists politically, culturally, and, sometimes, legally, and also ask whether it is possible to distinguish populists on the one hand from demagogues and democratic activists on the other.
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Intrusions of the People: Ideals of Popular Sovereignty in History

This lecture examined how Europeans in particular have imagined people-making: what constitutes a people, how a people can act in history, and what it takes to preserve regimes that claim to instantiate popular rule. A long story of how continental Europeans became disenchanted with ideals of popular sovereignty will emerge – a development which in many ways has left Europe’s democracies more vulnerable to populist attacks.
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What is Populism?

“Populism” has become one of the most wide-spread terms of political analysis, especially in Europe. At the same time, historians, political theorists, and social scientists deeply disagree about the meaning of the concept, with some claiming that there is no such a thing at all, and some dismissing the label “populism” as an attempt to silence all criticisms of really existing liberal democracies. In his first IWM Lecture in Human Sciences, Jan-Werner Mueller sketched a theory what populism is, as well as an account of how and why populist movements rise and fall.
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Selected Audio Files:

Women's Day: The Backlash Against Women’s Rights

Ulrich Brinkmann: Die unsichtbare Faust des Marktes

Katya Gorchinskaya, Cathrin Kahlweit: Have Ukraine's Reforms Failed?

Slavenka Drakulic: How Women Survived Post-Communism (and Didn't Laugh)