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Populism is commonly interpreted as a temporary obstacle to liberal democracy’s further development. The same kind of denial enabled Fascism and Nazism to triumph during the 1930s. The problem is
Populism is commonly interpreted as a temporary obstacle to liberal democracy’s further development. The same kind of denial enabled Fascism and Nazism to triumph during the 1930s. The problem is that contemporary liberal democracy has been emptied of all content. Neoliberalism has disconnected ‘professionals’ from ‘amateurs’, reduced politics to front-stage spectacles and depoliticised back stage reform efforts. No wonder that populism has succeeded in portraying ‘the system’ as ‘rigged’ and as having robbed ‘the people’ of their sovereign dignity.
Populism’s solutions must be questioned. Nudged by neoliberalism to ‘make a difference’ from the day they are born, young people feel constant pressure to take active responsibility for their lives. It turns out that many are now dealing with their fears of personal failure by connecting online via social media and smartphones. By doing so, they show that democracy is first and foremost about connecting people, and that its rejuvenation now requires the mutual recognition of differences and getting young people active, as voters, in movements and in parties, both online and offline.
About the speaker
Henrik Bang is Professor in Governance at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra. His research interests include new forms of participation and governance, Neoliberalism, New Institutionalism, Political Parties and Critical Theory Postmodernism. Henrik writes extensively within the fields of governance and political participation, and has contributed significantly to the international debate with his concepts of Everyday Makers, Expert Citizens, culture governance and policy-politics.
(Wednesday) 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
MECO Seminar Room
Level 2, John Woolley Building, University of Sydney
Sydney Democracy Networksdn@sydney.edu.au