Events Calendar

December 2020

01
Dec
2020

The Ratline

To mark the publication of the German language version of The Ratline, which follows his prize-winning book East West Street, Philippe Sands explores the ideas that underpin his new work, an account of the lives of Otto Wächter, an Austrian SS Gruppenführer indicted for mass murder, his wife Charlotte, from the moment they met Vienna …
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November 2020

30
Nov
2020

“Blame-Games” and “Blame Avoidance”

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have changed the world both dramatically and irrevocably. For months, politics and media have focused on COVID-19 and the countless facets of its impact of ever more uncertainty and insecurity in our lives. Following Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Fear (2006) and Wodak’s The Politics of Fear (2021), it has become evident …
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23
Nov
2020

Mental Illness as a Cultural and Societal Phenomenon

The collapse of communism in the CEE region 30 years ago was the start of a long-term process of sociopolitical change, in which a major transformation of the mental health system was expected. Unfortunately, this transformation is not yet complete. For example, in Poland people with severe mental illnesses and disabilities are treated in large …
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18
Nov
2020

Missing Pages of European History: The EU’s Historic Role in Why Western Balkans Enlargement is Stuck   

Many people agree that the European Union’s enlargement process is flawed. As a consequence, none of the aspiring EU members meet their targets on the path to membership on time and some do not meet them at all. While Europeans spent a lot of money, time and energy to improve life the region for decades, …
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16
Nov
2020

The Stage of Pre-solidarity

My experimental study may reveal elements of recent Polish social history omitted in local knowledge-production. I will focus on enthusiastic building, social deeds, vernacular creativity, and various stages of pre-solidarity in Poland since late socialism. I will discuss the flipside of late socialist modernization in Poland, and its trajectory after 1989, considered as both intimate, …
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09
Nov
2020

Czernowitz as a Cultural Palimpsest

Dissidents can be not only people, but towns. The architecture of Czernowitz in the Soviet empire was dissident. Walking past these buildings, living in them, you could not help but be infected by their spirit. It was a dissident town which gave us, its inhabitants, lessons in beauty, liberty, duty. Czernowitz was a quotation, from …
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02
Nov
2020

Letters to Enver Hoxha

From after World War II until his death in 1985, thousands of Albanians wrote letters to Enver Hoxha, a mixture of trivial everyday concerns and exceptional episodes that are tragic, heart-warming and absurd in equal measure. These letters were meticulously archived by the authorities, discussed and acted upon. Put in context, they reveal an abysmal …
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October 2020

28
Oct
2020

People of the Mountain: Stories from a Balkan Ecosystem

For millennia, the people of the Mesta Valley have lived in an intimate relationship with their environment. My enquiry is into the nature of this relationship as it survives today, after a succession of mass traumas in the 20th century have made their mark. They include political persecution during Communism, economic upheaval in the wake …
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27
Oct
2020

Homo Itinerans 

Afghan society has been indelibly marked in by war and the exodus of a large part of its population. But it also characterized by the presence of innumerable international and nongovernmental organizations, as well as armed forces from many countries. Adopting mobility as an analytical key, and mindful of the significance of analysing processes and phenomena across scales, I will present a global though intimate ethnography of …
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21
Oct
2020

Learning From the Prespa Agreement: Is There a ‘Southeast European Way’ of Settling Disputes or Should There Be One? Lessons for the European Union

The Macedonia name dispute, one of the very first dispute of the post-Cold War era in Southeast Europe, was finally settled in June 2018 with the signing of the Prespa Agreement. The deal between Greece and North Macedonia was hailed as historic and an important breakthrough for the entire region’s integration to Western institutions. However, …
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20
Oct
2020

Cancelled!" rel="bookmark"> Democracy: A Fragile Way of Life – Cancelled!

The Monthly Lecture has had to be cancelled! We appreciate your understanding! After the Cold War ended, liberal democracy was taken for granted. Now it is in crisis: citizens distrust parliamentary politics, the people’s parties are losing members and votes, and social media are crowding out public debates. Challenging the sense of despair that informs …
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18
Oct
2020

US Elections 2020

The election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the US four years ago was a sea change in many ways, but above all a sign of rising populism and a changing world order. His tenure has unsettled the transatlantic relationship, questioned the nature of multilateralism by insisting on transactional relations, doubted the need for NATO. …
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14
Oct
2020

Who is Telling Us What? Why? And How? The Media in Central and Eastern Europe in 2020

With technological change so rapid, and global concerns rivaling the traditionally local focus of most human beings, media assume an ever more important role in our societies. That is particularly true in central and eastern Europe, where journalists and their audience mostly have had a mere three decades to establish and mold independent media that …
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14
Oct
2020

The Problem of Religious Art in Modernity Uses and Abuses of the Icon in Russia

8th Graduate Workshop of the Russian Art & Culture Group, in collaboration with the “Eurasia in Global Dialogue” Program at the IWM In Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche wrote: “that species of art can never flourish again which—like the Divine Comedy, the paintings by Raphael, the frescoes of Michelangelo, Gothic cathedrals—presupposes not only a cosmic …
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13
Oct
2020

Beach Encounters

As I started to follow the traces of bodies that in recent years went missing in the Mediterranean, I had to move away from Europe, its soil, politics and ways of knowing the dead. This movement was neither firm nor fast. There were twists, switching of courses, fast-forwards as well as occasional meanderings. Eventually I …
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12
Oct
2020

Hagia Sophia as Symbol and Hostage of Actual Politics 

On 10 July 2020, by a decree of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the basilica of Hagia Sophia – the central monument of the Byzantine Empire and the entire Orthodox world – was turned from a museum into a mosque. The conversion attracted worldwide attention and the leaders of the US, the EU and Russia, as well as …
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07
Oct
2020

Eroding Trust: Serbian Democracy from 5 October 2000 to COVID-19  

Freedom came to Serbia in 2000, with a decade-long delay with respect to the rest of the post-Communist Europe. Ever since, the country has been on a wobbly transition towards an established democracy and EU membership. More than Serbia’s inability to settle firmly on a Westward geopolitical course and its uneasy relationship with its neighbors, …
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05
Oct
2020

Cossacks and Enlightenment

My talk deals with the impact of Enlightenment ideas on rethinking the image of Cossacks in the Ukrainian peripheries of the Russian Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century. I examine the mechanisms through which eighteenth century West European Enlightenment political and historical thought provided intellectual resources for both orientalizing the Cossack political …
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September 2020

28
Sep
2020

The Compatriots

The Russian diaspora is the third-largest in the world. The Russians fled the country in troves for more than one hundred years. First the Tsar’s crazy politics towards Jews, then the Revolution and Civil War, the Second World War and anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union forced millions to emigrate.In the 90-s, emigration was in the …
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26
Sep
2020

Philosophische Miniaturen

IWM_Vienna · Philosophische Miniaturen: Jan Patočka – Ein ketzerischer Europäer aus Prag Die “Philosophischen Miniaturen” stellen in Lesungen und Gesprächen das Werk des Philosophen Jan Patocka vor. Patocka ist nicht nur der wichtigste tschechische Philosoph des 20. Jahrhunderts, sondern war auch eng mit der Charta 77 verbunden. Sein Werk ist vielfältig, mit engen Bezügen zur …
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23
Sep
2020

The EU Periphery and Revisionist Powers

Starting with the annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014, scholars and analysts have been debating the standoff between the West and competitors such as Russia, Erdogan’s Turkey, and lately China on Europe’s periphery. “The return of geopolitics” has become a standard phrase to describe the new moment in the international politics of Eastern …
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22
Sep
2020

COVID-19 and Democracy: A New Mode of Governance?

The Berlin Republic of today is neither Weimar (1918–1932) nor Bonn (1949–1990). It is by all standards the best democracy ever on German soil. Nevertheless, during the COVID-19 crisis there was a shift from democracy as a mode of governance to what the controversial legal theorist Carl Schmitt (1922) affirmingly described as a “state of …
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17
Sep
2020

Jean Améry Prize Awarded to Ivan Krastev

David-Ausserhofer_Allianz-Kulturstiftung
The Allianz Kulturstiftung and the Klett-Cotta publishing house awarded the prize, founded in memory of Jean Améry for important contemporary essays, to IWM Permanent Fellow Ivan Krastev on September 17, 2020. The jury, chaired by Robert Menasse, explained their decision by stating »The clarity of thinking against the appointments of the time: That is, among …
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14
Sep
2020

How to Be a Climate Change Journalist in Ukraine and Why Environmental Storytelling Can Help Spread Important Ideas

Since Ukraine is an agrarian country, the importance of knowledge about climate change cannot be overestimated. In fact, today we already have regions where we harvest potatoes and corn twice a year, and regions where grapes and peaches ripen, which have not even been cultivated before. It is very important to talk not only about …
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02
Sep
2020

A New World (Dis-)Order

The Czech Embassy in Vienna, in cooperation with the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) generously supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, invited for an evening discussion at the Czech Embassy in Vienna. The debate addressed the growing geopolitical insecurity and the new challenges posed by the global pandemic. In debate: …
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August 2020

21
Aug
2020

Public Health & Migrant Workers

The nationwide lockdown declared by the government in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic ruptured the country’s society and economy in unforeseen ways. The long march of migrant workers to their towns and villages in unprecedented numbers drove home the extreme precarity of migrant lives. The lockdown also generated a new discourse of stigma based …
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20
Aug
2020

The Sociology of Belarusian Protest

Belarusian voices are few and far between in debates about the ongoing protests in Belarus. In this online discussion, Belarusian sociologists will share their views and analysis of the current protest wave. Among other things, they will discuss the role of striking workers; class, gender, and violence; the mobilizing effects of trauma; the impact of …
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July 2020

06
Jul
2020

Covid-19 and Holocaust Memory

Confronting the temporary closure of exhibitions and memorial sites, many Holocaust memorials and museums quickly switched from on-site to online commemorative practices. New digital projects evolved in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that discovered social media as complex commemorative space. While prior to this digital Holocaust memory was mostly manifest in prestigious digital preservation …
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June 2020

29
Jun
2020

Religious Perspectives on Global Solidarity in the Era of Global Crises

All three global crises of recent times – the financial crisis of 2008, the refugee crisis, and now the coronavirus crisis – have been, among other things, tests of solidarity. But what is it that decides in a concrete situation, whether solidarity is extended to those in need or not? Especially interesting are those cases, …
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29
Jun
2020

Europe’s Futures Symposium 2020

Eight Europe’s Futures Fellows of the 2019/20 cohort led by IWM Permanent Fellow Ivan Vejvoda encapsulated the work done over the year in which the pandemic force opened new futures for Europe. Insight and perspectives on regression of democracy, migration and depopulation, future of work, enlargement of the EU – from Isabelle Ioannides, senior associate …
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25
Jun
2020

Europe-Asia Research Platform: Forced Migration

Europe has been implicated in streams of contemporary migration, described as the continent‘s so-called migration crisis arising from the ongoing conflicts in West Asia and other parts of the Asian conti-nent, as well as forced displacement from Africa. Issues around forced migration have also impacted the knowledge structures in social sciences, environmen-tal sciences, area studies, …
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24
Jun
2020

Covid-19 Pandemic and the Spectral Presence of Migrant Workers and Refugees

The bordering processes unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the existing fault lines of our present-day societies and deepened the current fissures and dilemmas of global capitalist order, state sovereignty, and governance structures. On the basis of Calcutta Research Group’s book, Borders of an Epidemic: Covid-19 and Migrant Workers, edited by Prof. Ranabir Samaddar, …
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23
Jun
2020

Junior Visiting Fellows‘ Conference

Program: 10:00-10:15 Opening remarks 10:15-10:45 The Bourgeois and the Caveman: Liberalism and Stone Age Economics Stanislas Richard PhD candidate in Political Theory, Central European University, Budapest Discussant: Miloš Vec (IWM) [Read abstract] 10:45-11:15 The Taste of the “Global Cheese Power”: Making Cheese – Repositioning the Country Volha Biziukova PhD candidate in Cultural and Social Anthropology, University …
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22
Jun
2020

Notes on Militant Populism in Contemporary France

This presentation consists of notes from the field which reflect on the relationship between the conjunctural forces that prevail in contemporary France and the emergence of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) insurgency. As is now well known, this movement has been alternatively claimed by the left as a citizen’s revolution and the right as a …
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15
Jun
2020

Social and Ecological Movements in “Apocalyptic Times”

Ecological discourses are in upheaval once again. After the 2018 IPCC report made clear that the timeframe to avoid the worst scenarios is rapidly shrinking, new societal groups have taken the streets. Discerning different strategies for social transformation and their respective relations to utopian/dystopian ecological imaginaries, the paper outlines three ideal types of social movements. …
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08
Jun
2020

The Remains of the Real

There was a moment in the 1990’s, in the era of high postmodernism, when it seemed that social reality has had no stable foundations and as such it can be freely and totally transformed by interventions in the registers of symbols and images. Various social, political and economic developments of the last two decades – …
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02
Jun
2020

WhatsApp Israel?

There are not many individuals in the world, who do not know Israel. Who did not hear something, good or bad, about it? Many have strong opinions about what is happening in this small country. The country that was once a model society of equality and liberal democracy is now a partner to more conservative …
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May 2020

25
May
2020

Parenting and Education

Middle class parents in reproducing their children’s middle classness face a complex web of paths to navigate towards a future that seems less controllable. Education is the primary means of the reproduction of class positions and hence education is the field that unravels both modern parenting and class inequalities. What happens when class gets entangled …
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18
May
2020

Kidnapped from Nazism, or the Greek Tragedy of Central Europe

Our paper recalls the essay The Tragedy of Central Europe, written by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera. We criticize the unhistorical cold-war image of the West that Kundera employs. In his reading, the Second World War just did not take place. We do not mean this objection as an external critique. Since why should someone …
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12
May
2020

“WhatsApp Israel?”

There are not many individuals in the world, who do not know Israel. Who did not hear something, good or bad, about it? Many have strong opinions about what is happening in this small country. The country that was once a model society of equality and liberal democracy is now a partner to more conservative …
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11
May
2020

Leben im – und Wege aus dem – „Corona-Camp“

Der renommierte österreichische Sozialwissenschaftler Bernd Marin hat in zwei Interviews (beide in voller Länge nachzulesen im Corona Blog des IWM) das Leben im „Corona-Camp” (6. April; eine vielbeachtete Kurzfassung erschien am 12. April in der Ostersonntagsausgabe des KURIER) sowie Post-Quarantimes: Wege aus dem „Corona-Camp“ (29. April) kritisch reflektiert. Im Rahmen des virtuellen IWM-Kolloquiums stellt sich …
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04
May
2020

Religion and Power Between Empires and Publics

In the 19th century, the Greek Catholic/Uniate Church, an Eastern rite Catholic Church on the territory of modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland, served as a proving ground for evolving approaches to negotiating religion within states and between them. Straddling a political border between the Habsburg and Russian empires and a confessional boundary between Catholicism and …
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April 2020

22
Apr
2020

Europe After the Pandemic

The future of Europe after the crisis caused by COVID-19 according to Ivan Krastev, political scientist, IWM Permanent Fellow and president of the Centre of Liberal Strategies in Sofia, and Jordi Vaquer, political analyst of the Open Society Initiative for Europe. Conversation in Catalan and English, with subtitles in Catalan and Spanish.   In colaboration …
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21
Apr
2020

The Ratline

Due to the coronavirus outbreak this lecture has been postponed to December 1, 2020. The event will be the launch of the German language version of The Ratline, which will come out on November 25. In his new book The Ratline, Philippe Sands explores the ideas that underpin his new work, an account of the …
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20
Apr
2020

Democratic Backsliding in Eastern Europe

Back in the late 2000s, when all former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe acquired full membership of the European Union, it appeared as if these countries were on their way to democratic normality. What happened instead was that many of them underwent democratic backsliding. As the region transitioned from the accession to the post-accession era, …
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14
Apr
2020

Communism Never Happened

Almost every time a public discussion deals with questions of redistribution or social justice, there is a person standing up and saying something like: “Yes, we know that experiments from history and they all end up in some kind of Gulags!” This can be observed e.g. in debates around Corbynism in the UK or Bernie …
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06
Apr
2020

The Importance of Being Funny

This talk is part of a book project on the cultural history of Jewish artistic presence in German-speaking cabaret and film in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. (During my fellowship at the IWM, I am researching materials at the Austrian Exile Archive at ÖNB and the Österreichisches Kabarettarchiv in Graz.) In this presentation for the colloquium, I …
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March 2020

26
Mar
2020

Byzantium as an Argument in the Russian Intellectual Debate

Not long ago, two prominent public intellectuals in Russia – a well-known pro-Kremlin analyst and the liberal thinker Yulia Latynina –  wrote articles about Byzantium. Although their attitudes toward Byzantium were diametrically opposite to each other, the two authors were comically unanimous in their belief that this long defunct Empire was responsible for everything that …
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24
Mar
2020

Contentious Politics in Neoliberal Cities

Cities have become strategic sites for the expansion of the political. They have witnessed the emergence and erosion of new citizenships, popular sovereignties, and democratic interventions. Actors affected by austerity policies struggle against social injustice and for the right to the city. Among them are sections of the middle class whose living and working conditions …
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23
Mar
2020

Post-Accession Politics and Democratic Backsliding in Eastern Europe

Back in the late 2000s, when all former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe acquired full membership of the European Union, it appeared as if these countries were on their way to democratic normality. What happened instead was that many of them underwent democratic backsliding. As the region transitioned from the accession to the post-accession era, …
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17
Mar
2020

The Remains of the Real. Politics after Postmodernism

There was a moment in the 1990ties, in the era of high postmodernism, when it seemed that social reality has had no stable foundations and as such it can be freely and totally transformed by interventions in the registers of symbols and images. Various social, political and economic developments of the last two decades – …
Read more
16
Mar
2020

The Importance of Being Funny: Jewish Humour in Cabaret and Film of the Weimar Republic

This talk is part of a book project on the cultural history of Jewish artistic presence in German-speaking cabaret and film in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. (During my fellowship at the IWM, I am researching materials at the Austrian Exile Archive at ÖNB and the Österreichisches Kabarettarchiv in Graz.) In this presentation for the …
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10
Mar
2020

Berlin Hamlet. Gedichte

Lesung und Diskussion zum Werk des ungarischen Schriftstellers Szilárd Borbély, der vor allem für seinen Roman „Die Mittellosen“ bekannt ist. Erstmals liegen nun in deutscher Sprache zwei Gedichtzyklen des 2014 verstorbenen Autors vor, der als bedeutendster ungarischer Lyriker seit 1989 gilt. 2013 war Borbély Paul Celan Visiting Fellow am IWM. Zweisprachige Lesung: Mercedes Echerer Cornelius …
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08
Mar
2020

Warum wir am Frauentag auch über Männer reden sollten…

 Der internationale Frauentag ist eine gute Gelegenheit, um auch über Männer zu sprechen. Das lange gepflegte Ideal von Männlichkeit, das Stärke und Härte voraussetzt, ist längst nicht mehr gültig. Frauen wehren sich gegen die  Ausprägungen dieser „toxischen Männlichkeit“ – mit immer mehr Erfolg. Das hilft auch den Männern. Über das Klischee des starken Mannes …
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04
Mar
2020

In guter Verfassung?

In diesem Jahr wird das österreichische Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz (B-VG) 100 Jahre alt. Es gründete auf Verfassungskämpfen von 1848, übernahm Grundrechte von 1867 und stellte 1920 die Weichen für einen Aufbruch der jungen ersten österreichischen Republik in eine ungewisse Zukunft. Seither wurde es vielfach diskutiert, reformiert – und zwischenzeitlich sogar demontiert. 1934 wurde das B-VG durch die …
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February 2020

25
Feb
2020

Liberalism in Crisis: Between Totalitarian Responses and Progressive Dreams

,
In the past decade, many have spoken of the “crisis of democracy” due to the rise of populism in Europe, both in the East and the West, in the Union’s member states and in the aspiring member countries. But is democracy really what is at stake and in crisis nowadays, or is it a whole …
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24
Feb
2020

Manufactured Alienation

Boris Johnson turned the recent UK election into a referendum on the character of politics, and won by making democracy miserable. Based on years of investigating the dark money funded institutions which drove Brexit in the UK, undercover reporting across Europe, and street interviews with voters from Hungary to Spain and Scotland to Italy, openDemocracy’s …
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17
Feb
2020

Freedom and Solidarity

In Poland he is remembered as an intriguing personality and a spiritual leader of the Solidarity movement. Abroad, mostly as co-founder of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna. A boy from a Polish village who became a profound interpreter of Husserl, Heidegger and Levinas. A Catholic priest inspired by a Jewish philosophy of dialogue, trying …
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13
Feb
2020

Award Ceremony for the Inaugural Emma Goldman Awards

The IWM is pleased to announce a collaboration with the FLAX Foundation, a newly founded independent foundation. Starting in 2020, the FLAX Foundation will issue awards to talented and engaged scholars of feminist and inequality issues in Europe, to support their research and development. The IWM will host two Emma Goldman Fellows each year, beginning …
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10
Feb
2020

Becoming ….

Embraced, helped, distrusted, rejected –  the refugees of 2015/16 have endured a vicious cycle of popular opinion. In Austria, young Afghans often carry the worst reputation. Nearly five years on, many are still in the asylum process while claims from other nationalities have long since been finalised. Meanwhile, the rejection rate for Afghan claims has …
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January 2020

27
Jan
2020

Facing Post-Truth in Central-Eastern Europe

The main challenge that post-truth poses, as the concept itself suggests, is the alleged end of centrality of the idea of truth in politics. Central and Eastern Europe finds itself in a political culture where claims, ideas and utterances must no longer necessarily be grounded in proven empirical facts, in order to be held true …
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26
Jan
2020

The Dangers of Digital Democracy

All over the world, elections are manipulated by fake news, public opinion is radicalized via social media and electronic voting processes are subject to hacker attacks. The Internet was once seen as an opportunity for more democracy, but today concerns about the future of free elections prevail. Eric Frey, editor of Der Standard, will speak …
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23
Jan
2020

Religion and Revolution

While the “Russian religious renaissance” at the beginning of the 20th century and the political fervour, which culminated in the October Revolution of 1917, took place at the same period, these two developments are rarely studied alongside each other. In their joint book presentations, the two speakers are going to consider a tradition of religious …
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20
Jan
2020

Debating Citizenship and Emancipation during the Long 19th Century

Holly Case has called the period spanning the late-18th to the second half of the 20th century “The Age of Questions,” which included the Eastern question, Jewish question, social question, and countless others. In his recent book Liberalism, Constitutional Nationalism, and Minorities: The Making of Romanian Citizenship, c. 1750–1918 (2019), Constantin Iordachi shows how the …
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14
Jan
2020

Rebuild Trust in Politics Why People Turn Away from Politics and How to Rebuild Trust

Ivan Krastev Head of the Centre of Liberal Strategies in Sofia and IWM Permanent Fellow; Author of After Europe and The Light that Failed. David Goodhart political scientist, journalist, historian and author of The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics; former IWM Visiting Fellow Sylvia Kritzinger political scientist from Austria, …
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13
Jan
2020

The Anthropologists’ Problem with Barter

The standard story of economists about the origins of money is that it came from barter. For most modern anthropologists this story is about as reasonable as the story that babies are brought by the storks. It has become such a big problem that many prominent anthropologists have recently turned against economics as a discipline …
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13
Jan
2020

Democracy Is (No!) Fiction

Kick-off Event of the Jean Monnet Project “From Fictional to Functioning Democracy Developing Concepts and Strategies for an Inclusive and Participatory Europe” (FIFUDEM) with a keynote speech by Ivan KRASTEV (Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia) Liberal democracy appears to be at risk …
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08
Jan
2020

The Light That Failed. A Reckoning

Why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance? In the early 1990s, hopes for the eastward spread of liberal democracy were high. And yet the transformation of Eastern European countries gave rise to a bitter repudiation of liberalism itself, not only in the East but also back in the heartland …
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