Plenarveranstaltung V / Plenary session V: Populist persuasions

"How can anthropology speak back to the populist ‘threat’? Towards a political economy of populism"

Sprecherin / Speaker:

Insa L. Koch (LSE)

While anthropology has always been interested in the voices of ‘subalterns’ and those less able to speak, the rise of so-called populisms that offend liberal sensibilities has challenged its traditional political and ethical orientations. How are we as anthropologists to respond to the threats that we are seeing? What does it mean to defend the core values of democracy? How do we ensure that we do not collapse back onto a liberal settlement with its radicalised, classed and gendered connotations? Drawing from my long-term ethnographic fieldwork with working class residents of a  post-industrial council estate ('social  project') in England, I identify three avenues for an intellectual inquiry of an anthropology of populisms: first, by moving beyond dominant portrayals of the people as ‘populist’ and ‘bigoted’ through a political economy-driven  analysis  of  daily livelihoods and social reproduction; second, by questioning the narratives of liberal democracy’s punitive turn through a critical examination of the ‘everyday authoritarianism’ inherent in liberal rule; and third, by pushing for a normative agenda that moves beyond political tropes of victimhood. Taken together, these agendas not only situate the rise of so-called populisms within broader historical and contextual trajectories but firmly build on the anthropology's commitment to critical deconstruction without collapsing into liberal humanism

Datum: Mittwoch, 02. Oktober 2019