19 Nov

Ideologies Between Ridicule and Subversion

Peter Berger once spoke of „ die grimmige Humorlosigkeit der revolutionaeren Ideologien”. Starting from this, I try to analyze ideologies in general and not only „revolutionary” ones. I shall discuss two characteristics of ideological discourse: 1. Its diffuse, invasive aspect, that ultimately suspends the separation between „public” and „private”. Ideologies end by pervading the sphere …
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06 Nov

Understanding ‘Post-Truth’

In Western Europe, especially in France, after 1968 continental philosophy took a postmodern turn: a loss of faith not only in grand narratives, but also in a coherent subject, in stable meaning, and in absolute truth. Meaning—Jacques Derrida taught—flickers, subverts itself, is ever in flux. His philosophy of deconstruction represented, he wrote, “the least necessary …
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29 Oct

Lessons on War-related Scholarship and Engagement

The analysis of the war-related activism of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminists in the 1990s might seem at first glance as a too specific endeavour whose conclusions are irrelevant for the broader public, especially that which is not directly engaged with gender equality and feminism. A closer look at that activism reveals, however, valuable insights …
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22 Oct

Building “Hybrid” Democracies

How can we account for the particular evolution revealed by post-communist democracies? Is the phenomenon limited in time and space or are there reasons to expect mounting evidence of its extensiveness? The IWM hosts the project “Mechanism of Modernization in Central and Eastern Europe (MeMo – CEE)” to investigate the incomplete, disjointed, and intermittent process …
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17 Oct

Traces and Transitions to Hannah Arendt’s Unwritten Book on Love

Although Arendt’s oeuvre commences with a book on the concept of love (in Augustin) she never published a book on love. Yet, Arendt’s unwritten book on love does exist; it will be reconstructed from a series of fascinating entries of her Denktagebuch. Whereas Arendt’s early writings on love form a juxtaposition – philosophy (her dissertation) …
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17 Oct

The Cryptotheological Legacy of Hannah Arendt

As a political thinker, Hannah Arendt rejected theocracy and any kind of fundamentalism as nihilistic and as a mistaken response to the challenges of modernity. However, her heterodox, subversive reading of the Jewish and Christian traditions encourages us to seek inter-faith dialogue and secularity as platforms for the self-limitation of any authority, be it religious …
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15 Oct

Democracy Disputed: the Politics of African Protest

Africa is said to be experiencing its ‘third wave’ of mass protest. This follows a first wave that concluded with liberation from colonial rule and a second wave that responded to structural adjustment and ended in numerous multi-party elections. The new wave, seen by some authors as ‘an African uprising’, in contrast to a discourse …
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10 Oct

Political Change, Capital Mobility, and the Populist Threat to Democracy

Politics has moved from parties of mass integration, through catch all parties, to cartel parties, to increasing fragmentation. Markets have moved from capital controls and embedded liberalism, to free capital movements and macroeconomic imbalances. These two movements seem to run in parallel even if they are not connected. Political elites have lost control over their …
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08 Oct

The Decade of Intellectuals

Regime change has occurred in different ways in East Central Europe. One way was a combination of a huge umbrella movement and elite negotiations. Another was an eruptive non-violent revolution. In the case of Hungary, political change was driven by a relatively small counter-elite group which negotiated the terms of transition with the power holders. …
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28 Sep

Signal or Noise? Power and Powerlessness in the Media

Since the 2008 financial crisis, many people in Europe and the United States have felt themselves to be living in junk time, a state of empty expectancy. In many countries, people feel they face the tyranny of a past that can’t be resurrected in all its glory and the tyranny of a murky future that …
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