Whats is illiberalism?

By illiberalism, we define a strain of political culture, a set of institutional reforms (such as assaults on an independent judiciary) and broader societal processes (such as declining trust in liberal democratic institutions) that, over the past two decades, has emerged in response to liberalism as experienced by various countries.

Adherents of illiberalism argue that, in the face of a liberalism that has “gone too far,” it is time to reassert the rights of the collective, or of an alleged silent majority, by restoring national sovereignty in various spheres: politically, by rejecting supranational and multilateral institutions in favor of the nation-state and preferring a strong leader with large powers over a parliamentary system; economically, through at least partial protectionism; culturally, by refusing multiculturalism and minority rights in favor of an essentialist definition of the nation, its members, and its genuine cultural attributes.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.

  • Promoting a multidisciplinary approach combining political science, sociology, political philosophy, cultural studies and international relations
  • Addressing questions related to democratic backlash, the spread of authoritarianism, post-liberalism, the far right, populism and nationalism
  • Serving as a platform for debating the future of the liberalism/illiberalism relationship

It will look, among others, at:

01. Political Philosophy

Genealogy of the term ‘illiberalism,’ gaps and overlaps with the existing literature on conservatism, populism, far right, democratic backlash, and authoritarianism; interpretations as post-liberalism, a reactionism, a fascism.

02. Comparative Politics

illiberal politics and its actors across the globe; illiberal public policies and their impact on institutions and values;; transformations of the so-called liberal world order; (in)compatibility with democracy and supra-state organizations; reformulation of ‘left’ and ‘right’; unifying features and diversity of cultural contexts.

03. Sociology and Cultural Studies

current research explaining the spread of illiberalism from blue-collar ‘revenge,’ middle-classes pauperization, neoliberal reforms and the disappearance of the welfare state, to the lack of leftist ideologies after the collapse of communism and the need for identity politics; ‘rootedness’ and search of ‘national authenticity and ‘traditional values’ as answers to the globalization of ideas, people, and products

04. Political and Policy Responses

how illiberalism is perceived and addressed as a challenge by defenders of liberalism, from politicians and civil society activists to political philosophers.

illiberalism.org

illiberalism.org

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.