Lecture: Counter-revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat

Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at Oxford University, will discuss his latest book Counter Revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat on 18 September 2018 at Fritt Ord.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberalism was the only game in town from New York to Tallinn to Athens. This era is over. Anti-liberal insurgents are doing well at the ballot box not only in the post-communist democracies of Eastern Europe and indebted democracies of Southern Europe, but also in the most affluent European countries. Can open society survive? Is Europe disintegrating? How to overcome the economic crisis? Will Europeans feel secure again? Jan Zielonka will tackle these questions in his lecture “Counter-revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat”. 

He will argue that Europe and its liberal project need to be reinvented and recreated. There is no simple way back. Europe has failed to adjust to enormous geopolitical, economic, and technological changes that have swept the continent over the past three decades. European models of democracy, capitalism, and integration are not in sync with new complex networks of cities, bankers, terrorists, or migrants. Liberal values that made Europe thrive for many decades have been betrayed. The escalation of emotions, myths, and ordinary lies left little space for reason, deliberation, and conciliation.

Programme

18:00

Welcome by Erik O. Eriksen, ARENA     
18:10 Lecture: Counter Revolution: Liberal Europe in Retreat
Jan Zielonka, University of Oxford
18:40

Comments 
John Erik Fossum and Hans-Jörg Trenz, ARENA

Moderator 
Johanne D. Saltnes, ARENA   

19:10  Discussion
19:30 Q&A

 About the book

The book takes the form of a series of heartfelt letters to the late European guru Ralf Dahrendorf. Several months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dahrendorf wrote a book fashioned on Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Like Burke, he chose to put his analysis in the form of a letter, reflecting on the implications of the turbulent period around 1989. Thirty years' later, and faced with an equally turbulent period, Jan Zielonka asks: what next?

This is not a book on populism, however: it is a book about liberalism. Populism has become a favourite topic within liberal circles and few have exposed populist deceptions and dangers better than liberal writers. Yet, liberals have shown themselves better at finger-pointing than at self-reflection. This book addresses the imbalance; it is a self-critical book by a life-time liberal.

Counter-Revolution suggests that Europe and its liberal project need to be reinvented and recreated. There is no simple way back. Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will not produce wonders. Europe failed to adjust to enormous geopolitical, economic, and technological changes that swept the continent over the past three decades. European models of democracy, capitalism, and integration are not in sync with new complex networks of cities, bankers, terrorists, or migrants. Liberal values that made Europe thrive for many decades have been betrayed. The escalation of emotions, myths, and ordinary lies left little space for reason, deliberation, and conciliation. This book examines these different aspects, proposing a way out of the labyrinth. 

Full information

Jan Zielonka
Counter-Revolution. Liberal Europe in Retreat

Oxford University Press, 2018
ISBN: 9780198806561

Practical information

The seminar will be held in English.

Free entrance. Registration required. 

Published Aug. 9, 2018 12:12 PM - Last modified Oct. 2, 2018 11:19 AM