28 octRichard Beardsworth (Aberystwyth University) « The Political Moment: Political Responsibility and Leadership Today », Thursday November 23th

This paper is an exercise in problem-driven theory of a critical (rather than empiricist) kind. My first contention is that there are three major problems driving contemporary politics: 1) the disjuncture between threats that affect humanity as a whole and an everyday politics of efficacy and legitimacy (a disjuncture that is leading some to consider threats like climate change now ‘un-governable’); 2) the short-termism of contemporary forms of political responsibility and political leadership despite these threats or in direct disavowal of them (populist nationalism); 3) the challenge, therefore, of addressing ‘trans-border’ problems from within a structurally tenuous but politically resilient system of states. My second contention is that addressing each of these problems requires the active exercise of political leadership and new forms of enlightened statecraft and that, without this leadership, politics will remain polarized and endangered as a form of the common good. The paper contends thirdly that such leadership requires squaring practically and embodying symbolically national and global/human interests. In conclusion I discuss whether this focus on political responsibility and leadership (as ‘the political moment’) reinforces the status quo or critically helps to transform it.

Sciences Po
199, Bd Saint Germain
3ème étage

17.00-19.00

Discussant: Annabelle Lever (Sciences Po)

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