Chantal Mouffe: 7. juli kl 12-15.30

"The Future of Democracy in a Post-Political Age" er æresforelesningen Chantal Mouffe er invitert til å holde med utgangspunkt i metodene for mønstringen: antagonisme - agonisme.

Forelesningen er en markering av at alle kunstverkene i mønstringen forholder seg til radikalisering.

Mouffe taler for at agonistiske relasjoner/institusjoner, de som opprettholder de totale forskjellighetene uten at de er eller blir venn - fiende forhold, kan motvirke anti-demokratisk radikalisering.

Sted: Gamle festsal, Universitetet i Oslo, Karl Johans gate 45, Oslo.

Chantal Mouffe er professor i politisk teori ved University of Westminster i London. Hun forsker på demokrati, antagonisme og agonisme, og har gitt ut en rekke bøker – deriblant Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (med Ernesto Laclau) (1985) og Om det politiske (2005).

Chantal Mouffe: "In this lecture I will examine the reasons for the post-political situation which has become dominant in recent years in European countries. It is due to the move towards the centre of social democratic parties that have accepted the idea that there was no alternative to neo-liberal globalization. This has led to a consensus between centre-right and centre-left parties that far from being a progress for democracy has created a favorable terrain for the rise of right-wing populist parties. I will argue that the only way to fight again those parties is through the development of left-wing populist movements."


In most European countries we are witnessing a crisis of representative democracy which, as I argued in On the Political, is the outcome of the ‘consensus at the centre’ that has been established under the auspices of neo-liberal hegemony between centre-right and centre-left parties. This post-political situation has led to the disappearance from political discourse of the idea that there was an alternative to neo-liberal globalization, thereby foreclosing the possibility of an agonistic debate and drastically reducing the choice offered to the citizens through the elections.

Of course there are people who celebrate this consensus, presenting it as a sign that adversarial politics has become obsolete and that democracy is now more mature, I disagree with such a view and I have shown how this ‘post-political’ situation has created a favourable terrain for the development of populist parties which claim to represent the interests of all those who feel that they have no voice in the existing representative system. Their specificity is to appeal to ‘the people’ against the uncaring ‘political establishment’ that has abandoned the popular sectors and concerns itself exclusively with the interests of the elites. The problem is that in general the populism of those parties has a right-wing character because the way they bring together a series of heterogeneous social demands is by using a xenophobic rhetoric which constructs the unity of ‘the people’ through the exclusion of the immigrants.

Fortunately thanks to the development of left-wing populist movements like Syriza and Podemos this could change and it is urgent to understand that the only way to fight against right-wing populism is through left-wing populism. I am convinced that we are currently witnessing a profound transformation of the political frontiers that used to be dominant in Europe and that the crucial confrontation is going to be between left-wing populism and right-wing populism.

Besides allowing an articulation between different modes of political action, party, trade-unions and social movements, an important aspect of left-wing populism is that it acknowledges the central role played by affects and passions in politics. I use ‘passions’ to refer to the common affects which are at play in the collective forms of identification which constitute political identities and it is evident that passions play a central role in the process of construction of a collective will which is at the core of a left-wing populist project. The attempt by so many liberal democratic political theorists to eliminate passions from politics and their refusal to accept their crucial role is no doubt one of the reasons for their hostility to populism. This is a serious mistake because it is because this terrain has be abandoned to right-wing populism that they have been able to make such progress in recent years.

Etter Foredraget vil det være mottagelse i KONSERTHUSET, et bygg vi har reist for musikken på Universitetsplassen.

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