Divided nations: new populisms and the crisis of liberal democracy

Gillian Evans (University of Manchester)
Jeanette Edwards (University of Manchester)
Napier G04
Start time:
14 December, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Populist protest votes are challenging the centrist projects of liberal democracy. And radical reconfigurations of nationalism and state are redefining personhood. This panel seeks international conversation addressing crises of advanced capitalism and the politics of the contemporary.

Long abstract:

The centrist projects of liberal democracy, a long-term ally of multiculturalism and neoliberalism, are struggling in Europe and the US in the face of populist protest. In England and North America, 'left behind communities' of post-industrial capitalism spoke out in votes for Brexit and Trump. Across Europe right-wing, right-of-centre, or fascist movements claim to speak for those abandoned by a vision of progressive society built on austerity measures, fracturing regional geographies, increasingly inequitable service economies, alliances between white middle class, black and minority ethnic aspirations, and gendered liberation movements. This sense of fracture is not confined to Europe and the US. In India, for example, a right-wing assemblage of anti-Muslim, Hindu nationalist movements threatens to demolish the secular modernity of the past with an anti-liberal, anti-left-wing, anti-establishment cultural nationalism. The gendered dynamics of this conservative mind-set mean women's resistance, and fights for equal access to the competitive opportunities of India's rapidly developing neoliberal capitalism. While in Mongolia, crises of post-socialism have spawned nativist movements of novel kinds. These include the unleashing of 'the wolf spirit', which sees, in the violent subordination of women, the opportunity for the resurgence of masculinity, which young men perceive to be under threat and in crisis. This panel seeks international conversation about the relationship between crises of advanced capitalism and the politics of the contemporary. How are attempts to reconfigure the projects of nationalism and the state also projects to do with reconfiguring the state of being of persons?