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Photo: Samuel Kirszenbaum

Passagen Gespräch: Chantal Mouffe
With Peter Engelmann


Are we currently undergoing a crisis in democracy? When populist parties undermine democratic institutions from the inside and use democratic means to construct authoritarian structures, this diagnosis would seem to be apt. Belgian political scientist Chantal Mouffe, however, sees an opportunity in the current situation as well: After a long phase of a lack of alternatives in politics, the hegemony of neo-liberal politics is crumbling. An emancipatory politics that understands how to mobilise people's emotions could contribute to radicalising democracy today.

With this, Mouffe connects to influential theories that she developed together with Ernesto Laclau back in the 1980s. Instead of condemning populism as such, she makes the case for a left-wing populism that's oriented toward equality and social justice. Mouffe and publisher Peter Engelmann discuss the opportunities and dangers in populism, as well as the question of what a radical democratic politics could look like today.

Past Activities

Passagen Gespräch: Hélène Cixous, Peter Engelmann

German reading by Silvia Rieger

The French writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous ranks among the great pioneers of feminism and is the founder of an écriture féminine. Since her childhood, as a daughter of Jewish parents in colonial Algeria, she has been familiar with the mechanisms of social and political violence. At the intersection of manifold linguistic, cultural and sexual identities, her writing subverts patriarchal structures and surpasses the limits of entrenched orders in a playful and poetic manner. The publisher and philosopher Peter Engelmann speaks to her about her political engagement, contemporary Feminism and the emancipatory potential of writing.

French with consecutive interpreting into German by Isolde Schmitt

Passagen Gespräch: Peter Engelmann & Alain Badiou

Against the backdrop of current political affairs, Alain Badiou and Peter Engelmann discuss the meaning of theatre today. As a place where politics is truly able to unfold outside of parliamentary democracy, true theatre possesses a significant potential for critique. It escapes the logic of representation and provokes thought, paving the way for the Real.

Passagen Gespräch: Peter Engelmann & Jean-Luc Nancy

Today, at a time in which transnational corporations and lobbyists appear to have assumed political control of democratic institutions, we have to ask: how can democracy be reclaimed by the people? Peter Engelmann and French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy discuss ways to reappropriate democracy and rethink political community.

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