the emancipatory
potential of
cultural practice

TEH Meeting 81
WUK, Vienna

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Topographies of democracy

Talk and discussion with Pascal Gielen, Tina Leisch, Isabell Lorey, and Gerald Raunig


Staircase 2, Kunsthalle Exnergasse

Departing from the knowledge that a lot of concepts that refer in their origin to the ideal of democracy are nowadays reframed, re-articulated, used and often ‘abused’ in official policy documents and neoliberal rhetoric, in this session sociologist Pascal Gielen will facilitate a discussion with participants about the theoretical and practical use of concepts that contextualise present day democratic practices.

While notions such as ‘active citizenship’ and ‘participatory democracy’ will be critically analysed, Gielen will search together with director and activist Tina Leisch and political philosophers Isabell Lorey and Gerald Raunig for the usefulness and critical potential of alternative concepts such as ‘common wealth’ (Negri & Hardt), ‘agony’ (Mouffe), ‘presentist democracy’ (Lorey), ‘monster institutions’ (Raunig), and ‘repressive liberalism’ (Gielen).

Are these concepts useful for contemporary activist practices? Can they better comprehend our actual political and economic condition? And can they perhaps inspire and even be implemented in concrete civil actions?