Kapuscinski Development Lecture: Soft Authoritarianism: Marching to a Different Drum of Democracy, 11 July 2023, 19.00 UTC+1
With Shalini Randeria, Central European University
The global spread of soft authoritarian rule hollows out liberal democratic institutions and principles from within by using electoral majorities and the law that confers formal legitimacy. The talk will delineate how these new political practices march to a different rhythm of democracy using very similar instruments in various societies, which allow soft authoritarian leaders to also keep in step with one another. It will also explore how these strategies are here to stay as they are intertwined with crony capitalism, ethno-nationalism and demographic panics. Toxic masculinity that is part of the mix fuels attacks on women’s rights and especially reproductive rights.
Shalini Randeria was elected as president and rector of Central European University in 2021. She is the first woman, and the first person from the Global South, to take up this position since the founding of the university 30 years ago. Randeria has had a distinguished academic career as a sociologist/social anthropologist at institutions of higher education across Europe. She was rector of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, and a professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, where she directed the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. Randeria holds the Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, where she leads a research group on “soft authoritarianisms.” She is deputy chair of the Class of Social and Related Sciences, Academia Europaea and a distinguished fellow of the Munk School, Toronto University. Randeria has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state, and social movements with a regional focus on India. Her influential podcast series, Democracy in Question, launched in 2021, is in its sixth season.
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