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SoSe 20: “Contestations of the Liberal Script”

Michael Zürn

Hinweise für Studierende

zweiter Teil des Colloquiums (Teil l im WS19/20)


Abstract: Liberalism and its core ideas of human rights and self-determination seem to have undergone a global triumph. It is widely regarded as the dominant political creed, ideology, and praxis, at least in the Western world. Nevertheless, we observe today that liberal societies are under pressure. Liberalism’s capacity to solve the major global problems is increasingly put into question. Democracy is routinely called as being in crisis, and so is the liberal international order. Rising populism and a seeming attractiveness of authoritarianism values are often combined with growing nationalist sentiments and might represent an alternative political order in the future. The Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) is dedicated to analyze these developments, ask for its causes as well as its likely consequences. The rationale for this course is to provide the PhD candidates at the BGTS with an overview over the topics of the Cluster SCRIPTS. As such, the course should give orientation for the PhD candidates to situate their own research in the broader agenda of the Cluster. Organizationally, the course is designed to run over two semesters. In the first semester, we aim at familiarizing the participants with the overall framework and guiding research questions of the Cluster. In the second semester, the work of the four Research Units “Borders”, “Orders”, “Re-Allocation”, and “Temporalities” will be emphasized. The seminar is partly taught together with Johannes Gerschewski. FIRST SEMESTER (winter 2019/20) The first semester is divided into four parts. In the first part, we discuss the varying meanings of what liberalism actually has been in the past and what it means today. We trace the historical development of liberalism and cover potential regional differences. This forms the basis for our later discussions. In a second step, we zoom into the “liberal script” and select important case studies on how liberalism was contested by different agents over time. A third step will tackle today’s challenges to the liberal script. We identify a trias of challenges that consist of a rise of nationalism, authoritarianism, and populism across the globe. We ask to what extent these developments overlap, occur simultaneously, are the result of a certain Zeitgeist, and how liberalism defends itself against these attacks. Finally, the seminar will provide time and space for participants to present their own projects and link them to the overall topics of the Cluster of Excellence, while providing with hands-on advice on how to proceed with the individual projects. The course will be held on four days. Each of the four topics (liberalism, case studies, today’s challenges, and own presentations) will be dealt with on one of the days. See below the attached the syllabus for detailed information. SECOND SEMESTER (summer 2020) Building upon the first semester in which the major topics of SCRIPTS are dealt with, the second semester is organized along the four Research Units. While the Research Unit “Borders” focuses on controversies surrounding inclusion and exclusion, citizenship, and migration, “Orders” discusses the challenges to liberal democracy and the international liberal order. The Research Unit “(Re-)Allocation” concentrates on social inequality and the causes and consequences of free markets. Lastly, “Temporalities” discusses notions of linear progress and optimal allocations decision by rational actors that underlie liberal ideas. Principal investigators from these four Research Units will be invited to share their research findings while making sure that we link the individual research to the broader agenda of SCRIPTS. Schließen

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Fr, 17.04.2020 10:00 - 12:00
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