Weekly Focus

The IWM archive houses a rich collection of texts, audio and video files that are worth being rediscovered. Once a week, thematic foci, related to different research projects at the IWM, will be presented here.


Week VII: The Limits of Faith – Religion in the Modern World

curated by Katherine Younger, IWM Research Director, Ukraine in European Dialogue

Religion “is woven into the fabric of our life,” IWM founding rector Krzysztof Michalski told an interviewer in 2012. Since the IWM’s inception, making sense of religion has been a major focus of the Institute’s work. With a lineage that runs from intellectual progenitor Jan Patočka, through founding IWM president Józef Tischner and Michalski, to current Permanent Fellow Charles Taylor, members of the IWM community have thought deeply about the role of religion in our modern world.
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Week VI: Nationalism and Europe’s Turn to the Right

In the 1990s nationalism and right-wing radicalism in Europe were considered things of the past. Almost thirty years later, nationalism and right-wing populism have become powerful political factors throughout the continent today. Nationalist and far right politicians have been propelled into government in several western and central European countries. They have all embarked on a more or less common authoritarian project. At its dark centre stand two bogymen: the denouncement of the European Union (along with the power of transnational elites ruling national politics) and the demonization of refugees trying to flee to Europe.
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Week V: Between Amnesia and Hypermnesia – Victory Day 75 Years Later

On 8/9 May of this year, the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will be celebrated. Due to the corona pandemic, outdoor celebrations will be reduced to a minimum; the memory war about the interpretation of the event will, however, go on.
On this occasion, IWM’s Weekly Focus offers articles that emerged in the context of the long-standing research in contemporary history at the IWM, some of them addressing the challenges of re-writing 20th century history, others dedicated to the reflection on its political uses.
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Week IV: Virus Without Borders – Of Migrants and Closures

curated by Ayşe Çağlar, IWM Permanent Fellow

The reconfigurations of borders, territories, and narratives of exclusion in times of Corona virus highlight questions and dilemmas that have long exercised researchers working on/with migrants and refugees: issues of (national) sovereignty; border regimes, its actors, and discourses; boundaries of communities of solidarity; narratives of exclusion and inclusion; or scales of governance and responsibilities of refugee protection. The challenges of closures in times of the pandemic provide an opportunity to revisit some of the discussions on migration and refugees hosted by the IWM, which acquire renewed significance today.
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Week III: Digitality and Democracy

Great hopes were placed just a few decades ago in the empowering impact of digital technology. It was expected to enable unprecedented citizen participation and strengthen monitory democracy, to use John Keane’s apt term for the continuous public control of power, by improving interconnectivity and equalizing access to information for users. Some even prophesied the dawn of a new era of direct democracy.
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Week II: The Return of Geopolitics

curated by Anita Dick, Marion Gollner and Ludger Hagedorn

Geopolitics is back on the political agenda. Politicians around the world are once again defining international relations in terms of national interests and spheres of influence. It hardly needed the Corona crisis, and the ensuing economic uncertainty, to remind us how fragile and fractured the contemporary political order is. The new geopolitical landscape is complex and open as it remains unclear which choices countries will make and what resources they will use towards these newly defined ends. With contribution by: Ivan Krastev, Stephen Kotkin, Robert John Sawers, Madeleine Albright, Robert Cooper, Mary Kaldor, Timothy Snyder and many more...
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Week I: Corona and Resurgence of Communitarian Ideas

curated by Ludger Hagedorn, IWM Permanent Fellow

Will Western liberal societies be able to fight against the Corona pandemic with the same rigor and severity as China’s authoritarian regime? Some of the political measures and restrictions put in place are a cause for concern. Although liberal democracies will hopefully prove capable of mastering the pandemic at large, this does not mean that everything will, or should, remain unchanged. Perhaps this crisis entails a clear message for our highly individualized societies, namely that the mere pursuit of one’s self-interest is not enough. Communitarian perspectives, presented in this weekly focus with contributions by Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel, Nancy Fraser, Erna Appelt, Philippe Sands, Serhii Plokhii and others, may provide today inspiration to recalibrate the functioning of liberal societies.
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