Dr. Gábor Scheiring: "The Social Requisites of Authoritarianization and Illiberalism"

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM
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Dr. Gábor Scheiring: "The Social Requisites of Authoritarianization and Illiberalism"
Dr. Gábor Scheiring

The world is facing a new wave of authoritarianization and autocratization. The coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated this global democratic backsliding. Though each country has its local history, some of the social foundations of illiberalism are similar worldwide. These divergent and convergent social requisites of illiberalism are the subject of this talk.

After clarifying the relationship between the concepts of “populism,” “illiberalism,” and “democratic backsliding,” Dr. Scheiring reviews the empirical literature related to these phenomena. Explanations of illiberalism cannot be reduced to mono-causal theories. Dominant cultural and overly agent-centric approaches have a proclivity to downplay the role of economic-structural tensions.

This talk will demonstrate how political-economic approaches to illiberalism in East-Central Europe can offer novel insights into the social foundations of illiberalism. Scheiring arguing for complex, interdisciplinary approaches that refuse to pit culture, the economy, and politics against each other as separate variables. These factors act in concert through people’s everyday perceptions of economic change and political entrepreneurs’ maneuvers to maintain and forge class coalitions and shape institutions.

Hosted by our Spring 2021 course in "Power, Politics, and Society," Sociology 340.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University.

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