Liberalism Challenged: Debating the Causes That Weaken Liberalism, and Illiberalism’s Amplifying Feedback Loop Effect

Seminars and Colloquia

This presentation discusses the different forms of challenges (environmental, political, socioeconomic, cultural, geopolitical) that liberalism is facing today. It looks at the structural causes that weaken liberalism or at least that contest its hegemonic status in the Global North. It argues that liberalism and illiberalism are deeply entangled, including in so-called well-established, old Western European democracies, and that they should be studied together to capture the dialectic nature of their relationship.

It then moves to the effect that illiberal movements, leaders, or governments have on liberal-democratic systems, and analyzes it as an amplifying feedback loop; that is, that illiberalism is not the cause weakening liberal values but a product of this weakening, which it accelerates.

Marlene Laruelle holds the position of Research Professor and serves as the Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at George Washington University. Additionally, Professor Laruelle leads the Illiberalism Studies Program at GW. Her research focuses on the emergence of populist and illiberal movements in post-Soviet Eurasia, Europe, and the United States. With her background in political philosophy, she investigates the development of an illiberal grassroots culture in diverse cultural settings. Her recent publication, in which Laruelle closely analyzes accusations of fascism toward Russia, is entitled Is Russia fascist? Unraveling Propaganda East West.

Yavor Siderov, IWM Visiting Fellow, will comment on this Fellows' Colloquium

Clemena Antonova, IWM Research Director of The World in Pieces, will moderate the ensuing discussion.


Fellows Colloquia are internal events for the IWM Visiting Fellows and Guests.