Professor Costas Douzinas delivered this year’s annual talk of the Post-structural and Critical Thought Cluster at the University of Manchester. This event also officially launched a 2-year cluster run project entitled Politics in Times of Anxiety.
The project sets its context in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, when worries over public safety and security became a central issue across the world. The subsequent crisis that broke out in 2008 in the USA and gradually spread in Europe initiated a protracted period of global slump and distressed views on political representation, for example the Occupy movement, the Indignados, or, more recently, uprisings in Greece, Turkey, and Brazil, to name but a few. In these instances, fear about environmental sustainability, economic stability, or social exclusion has permeated the public discourses, creating a strong narrative of an immanent threat, or, uncertainty about the future. These expressions of uncertainty and dissatisfaction are more than mere signs of insecurity. They profoundly question how we conceive of politics. From classical political action to a different sense of belonging and societal reactions, such as artistic expressions, but also religious ones, what is at stake when anxiety becomes the driving force of politics? Politics in Times of Anxiety project claims that anxiety is spread across society, personal life, as well as global, regional, and local levels, and has also become a pronounced feature of our time. In addition, this project takes the view that these forms, feelings, and affects of anxiety over democratic and liberal politics are more profound than they might appear to be.
For his continuous work on the anxieties of our time, in particular as they manifest on the trajectory between politics and law, Professor Douzinas speaks perhaps most directly to the three main concerns of the project: to questions of resistance, law and global security policies. His most recent book, Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe, served as a departure point for the talk.
The Politics in Times of Anxiety conference is to be held at the University of Manchester, June 9 – 11; and beginning on Monday, June 2, Open Democracy will run a pre-conference guest-editorial week outlining some of the main ideas discussed at the conference.
For more information about the conference and the project visit: www.politicalhorizons.co.uk