Politics in Times of Anxiety

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, worries over public safety and security became a central issue across the world. The subsequent crisis that broke out in 2008 in the USA and gradually spread in Europe initiated a protracted period of global slump and distressed views on political representation, for example the Occupy movement, the Indignados, or, more recently, uprisings in Greece, Turkey, and Brazil, to name but a few. In these instances, fear about environmental sustainability, economic stability, or social exclusion has permeated the public discourses, creating a strong narrative of an immanent threat, or, uncertainty about the future. These expressions of uncertainty and dissatisfaction are more than mere signs of insecurity. They profoundly question how we conceive of politics. From classical political action to a different sense of belonging and societal reactions, such as artistic expressions, but also religious ones, what is at stake when anxiety becomes the driving force of politics?

This project claims that anxiety is spread across society, personal life, as well as global, regional, and local levels, and has also become a pronounced feature of our time. In addition, this project takes the view that these forms, feelings, and affects of anxiety over democratic and liberal politics are more profound than they might appear to be.

This is a 2-year project that aims at analyzing the ways in which anxiety has substantially reconfigured our society’s relation to politics, citizenship and desire for the future. The activities within the project include:

  • Annual international conference on the project theme to be held in May 2014
  • Workshops for established academics as well as PGRs
  • Roundtable discussions including local communities, NGOs, and political actors
  • Public lectures given by prominent scholars in the field
  • Publications (special issues in a journal and edited books)
  • On-line depository of our events (short videos, podcasts and papers) will appear on this page

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