The IWM Junior Fellows Conference, “Political Order in Changing Societies” took place on the 19th December 2017 at the IWM Library.
The theme for this year’s conference sought to link the diverse work of the visiting fellows and to accentuate the common thread that runs through all our projects – that is, a desire to understand contemporary political and social life, not only in order to diagnose the present but to offer forms of critique that can shape the future. While the work of scholars may often seem distanced from the world of politics, the context of the IWM, which often provides a bridge between research and policy, makes it clear that these worlds are interconnected and that dialogue between them is critical. This conference took place under the shadow of the 2017 elections in Austria, the rise of the right across much of Europe, and the re-emergence of rhetoric within the public sphere that summoned the fear and hatred of the 1930s. While the papers presented at the conference do not address the Austrian context directly, the discussions held illuminated how insights from diverse contexts and from numerous disciplinary perspectives can shed light on ‘political order in changing societies’.
The conference emphasized the importance of remaining open to, and aware of, transnational perspectives as a way to oppose nationalist parochialism.