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  • Call for papers | Symposium ‘AFTER POPULISM: CAN DEMOCRACY SURVIVE AND RENEW ITSELF?’

Call for papers | Symposium ‘AFTER POPULISM: CAN DEMOCRACY SURVIVE AND RENEW ITSELF?’

Friday 7 April 2017 at the Institute for Governance & Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra

Abstracts to be submitted by 1 February 2017, see below for details or download pdf

This symposium is concerned with the causes and consequences of the global rise of populism. Against the backdrop of rising anxieties over neo-liberal competitive growth, state-enforced austerity policies, immigration, growing inequality and recurrent economic crises tendencies, anti-pluralist, ‘nativist’ populist parties and governments are taking shape everywhere, including within the heartlands of pluralist democracy. Populists praise the political and moral image of ‘the People’. They celebrate the exceptional leader who possesses the courage and power to challenge and do combat with what is said to be a ‘rigged’ system destructive of social harmony and national unity. ‘We the People’ populism has many faces, and many causes, but its style and message are clearly attractive to millions of people, including those ‘losers’ and ‘deplorables’ (Hillary Clinton) who refuse, or don’t know how to play or ‘adapt’ to, the neoliberal ‘games’ of our age. The electoral confusions and consequences produced by these dynamics are clear, and are posing ‘no-win’ outcomes for the ‘old’ parties and governing institutions of democratic pluralism. As growing numbers of voters line up behind populist movements, parties and governments, most mainstream political parties today suppose that they can only win office by adapting to populism nationally, just as they have adapted to neoliberalism globally.

Concerned with the growing anxiety about the future of democracy, and the intellectual and political challenges posed by populism, the symposium will address three sets of connected questions:

  1. What is populism and why has it resurfaced and taken root globally?
  1. What challenges and threats does populism pose to democracy understood in its representative, participatory, deliberative and monitory forms? Is there an ‘inner connection’ between nativist populism and democracy? Can populism be harnessed and mainstreamedin support of democratic reforms? Or is populism on balance a politically dangerous recipe for damaging and destroying democracy both institutionally and as a way of life? Might it be the harbinger of new forms of neo-liberal or post-pluralist despotism?
  1. Can pluralist democracy reinvent itself and reach beyond anti-pluralist, native populism? If so, how? Through the recreation of viable communicative and interactive relationships among elected representatives, governing institutions, new communications media, democratic publics and social movements? Is all this possible in a political world which has to cope with many challenges, including the growing complexity and accelerating speed of economic, social and political life?

The aim of the symposium is to have a day-long, in-depth conversation about populism that can provide intellectual inspiration and written material for subsequent outputs, including published articles, a special journal issue or an edited book. The symposium format will take the form of a round table with selected presenters, commentators and other participants. Presenters will be allocated a brief time (7 minutes) to state her or his case. Commentators will have 3 minutes available to table their remarks. There will also be room for questions and comments from all symposium participants, as well as an end-of-symposium summary of the day’s discussions.

WE INVITE YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS SYMPOSIUM, WHETHER AS PARTICIPANT, COMMENTATOR OR PRESENTER.

Please reply and state your preference to: henrik.bang@canberra.edu.au

We call for full papers (the limit is 6,000 words) or at least extended synopses. However, we need abstracts from those who want to present no later than February 1st, 2017. There is space for about 12-15 presenters, who will be selected according to how well they fit into the 3 questions on this page. If the symposium is productive and well-received, there will be a follow-up workshop, to be held later in 2017.

PROGRAM

09:00-9:30

Welcome coffee, fruit and bread

09:30-11:15

Why has populism resurfaced and taken root globally? 4-5 presenters

11:15-11:30

Break

11:30-13:15

What challenges and threats does populism pose to democracy understood in its representative, participatory, deliberative and monitory forms?, 4-5 presenters

13:15-14:30

Lunch

14:30-16:15

Can pluralist democracy reinvent itself beyond anti-pluralist, nativist populism? If so, what might that mean in practice, and how can it be achieved?

16:15-16:30

Break

16:30-17:30

Summary and future plans

19:30-

Symposium dinner

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