Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten

The ‘crisis of liberalism’: Reflections on from Latvia, the place where history never ended

  • Datum: 2017-09-19 kl 15:15 17:00
  • Plats: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla torget 3, 3 vån, IRES Bibliotek
  • Föreläsare: Dace Dzenovska is an Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Migration at COMPAS and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA). Prior to this, she held a Marie Curie Fellowship at COMPAS and a three-year research and teaching position in social anthropology at the University of Latvia. She received a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dace has turned her doctoral dissertation on tolerance promotion and postsocialist democratization in Latvia into a book manuscript entitled Complicit Becoming: Tolerance Work and Europeanization After Socialism. She has published peer-reviewed articles in internationally renowned journals, including Comparative Studies in Society and History, Anthropological Theory and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Dace’s research and teaching interests include migration, diaspora politics, state building, governance, borders, nationalism and democratization in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
  • Webbsida
  • Arrangör: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Kontaktperson: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Telefon: 018 471 1630
  • Seminarium

In this talk, Dace Dzenovska draws on ethnographic work on postsocialist democratization in Latvia to argue that the externalization of liberalism’s crisis in the form of the Russian threat reveals crucial internal tensions of post-Cold War political liberalism as an actually existing ideological and institutional formation.

After the end of the Cold War, many Latvians never quite believed that history had ended. They continued to perceive Russia as a threat and sought membership in the European Union and NATO. In return, they were asked to re-evaluate their history, extend rights to minorities, and be tolerant towards difference. The Euro-American liberals, in turn, believed that history had indeed ended. They welcomed Latvians and other Eastern Europeans to the “free world” and confidently advised them on how to become liberal.

 

This confidence is no longer. Political liberalism is said to be in crisis. Moreover, Russia has emerged as the new old threat to the international liberal order. As a result, Latvians—along with Lithuanians and Estonians—have been propelled from the rearguard of European liberalism to the vanguard of its defence. In this talk, Dace Dzenovska draws on ethnographic work on postsocialist democratization in Latvia to argue that the externalization of liberalism’s crisis in the form of the Russian threat reveals crucial internal tensions of post-Cold War political liberalism as an actually existing ideological and institutional formation.