Michael Zürn in conversation with Claus Offe, moderated by Yara Hoffmann
What are the causes of the crisis of democracy? How can political practice be shaped, and how can democracy be changed in real terms and renewed to counteract its retreat tendencies? Michael Zürn and political sociologist Claus Offe discuss these dynamics based on the findings of "The Democratic Regression", the recently published book by Armin Schäfer and Michael Zürn (Die demokratische Regression, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2021). Growing economic inequality in the course of globalization and processes of cultural and social liberalization dominate current debates as explanations for the rise of national-authoritarian parties and the worldwide crisis of democracy. But these explanations are surprisingly apolitical. The fact that authoritarian populist parties are gaining strength in many places is rather the consequence of a double alienation, argue Schäfer and Zürn – an alienation of political processes from their democratic ideal and of the population from democratic institutions.
Claus Offe, Professor Emeritus of Political Sociology at the Hertie School, has held chairs for Political Science and Political Sociology at the Universities of Bielefeld, Bremen and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Michael Zürn, Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script" (SCRIPTS), Professor of International Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin, and Director of the Research Unit “Global Governance” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Moderation: Yara Hoffmann, freelance journalist, Berlin
About the Series - Futuring the Liberal Script
“Futuring the Liberal Script” is a conversation series live from the silent green. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” discuss and analyze current crisis of liberal societies and democracies and reflect on future political imaginaries from diverse perspectives. As a script “in trouble” the liberal script needs manifold analytical and discursive registers for keeping track of open antagonisms but also of its inherent contradictions and tensions.
As such, “futuring” is not necessarily a variant of optimizing, but rather relates to developing a critical and creative stance in response to current erosions and contestations of liberal values. The liberal script has to compete increasingly with alternative scripts and agendas for organizing societies, be they run by authoritarian, populist, Islamic fundamentalist, terrorist or technocratic autocracies. Whether liberal democracies are confident, flexible and agile enough to respond to the challenges posed by contrary political systems and alternative ideas is a central matter of acute political and social concern. The SCRIPTS conversations assemble a variety of views, concerns and actors by putting research topics and timely diagnosis up to public and ongoing debate.
Time & Location
Jul 05, 2021 | 07:00 PM