07.06.2019

Critical Theory Roundtable: Is There Another People?

Ort: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal Unter den Linden 6, Berlin
Beginn: 07.06.2019 18:00
Ende: 07.06.2019 21:00

Critical Theory Roundtable with Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research, New York), Jean Cohen (Columbia University, New York) and Oliver Marchart (Universität Wien). The event is organized by Rahel Jaeggi (Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin) and Victor Kempf (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

 

“The People” has become a central concept in political discourse again. All around the globe, movements are on the rise that attempt to reclaim popular sovereignty after decades of elitist government. The “populist moment” often comes along with exclusivist definitions of “the people” and phantasms of homogeneity and embodiment that openly attack the pluralist constitution of modern democracy. Accordingly, any reference to “the people” seems to be inherently repressive and thus deeply conflicting with aspirations of emancipatory politics, as many liberal analysts argue. However, there are also discourses that try to recuperate a revolutionary and subaltern meaning of “the people” and to free it from its nationalist and racist distortion. From this radical-democratic perspective that goes back to the “constituting power” of the French Revolution, constructing a polemical people from below is indispensable for countering both neoliberal expertocracy and authoritarian forms of populism.

 

The controversy about how to evaluate the concept of “the people” evolves around pressing political questions that are in need of further theoretical reflection.

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