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Photo: “European Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle – Diliff“, by Diliff, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Hue modified from the original

Verovšek, Peter J. “The future of Europe’s democratic way of life.” Modern Intellectual History (2020).


In 2016 the democratic world experienced two major shocks. Although support for illiberal nationalism has been on the rise for at least a decade, the events of that year, starting with the narrow victory of the Leave campaign in the United Kingdom’s 23 June referendum on its membership in the European Union (EU), followed less than six months later by Donald J. Trump’s election as president of the United States on 8 November, constituted a clear break. In contrast to the postwar liberal democratic order, which legitimized itself through the provision of welfare benefits and effective management of competing interests, these two developments seemingly signaled a return to the more rough-and-tumble, unstable politics of the interwar period.

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.