CFP: The Rise of the Right-Wing Populism in the Western World and New Perspectives for the Left

Submission deadline: November 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
December 13, 2018 - December 15, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb, Philosophy Students' Association "NOUS"
Zagreb, Croatia

Topic areas


During the last couple of years, in the public sphere of western countries, there has been a notice of arising and mainstream acceptance of a new kind of populist and anti-imigration policies, all on the grounds of the mainstream discourse of identity politics. While coming from centre-leftist perspectives which accepted model of liberal democracy as preferred form of socio-political order (acompanied with economic liberalisation and deregulation), it was generally employed to establish and emancipate what was deemed as opressed minority and peripheral identities, but in the hands of radical right, identity politics began to denote cleaving on hegemonic conceptions of ethno-centric and historical, cultural and geographic identities, which are more often than not romanticized and conjured on the grounds of quasi-mythical naratives.

In face of the so called refugee crisis in Europe, there are ever more louder calls for closing of the borders and immigration restrictions in various countries. The coalition of italian parties League and Five Star Movement, Orban's nationalist policy in Hungary, right-wing movement in France which supported Marine le Penn, coalition of People's Party and Freedom Party in Austria, and the presidential enterprise of Donald Trump, are just a few among the examples of triumphing right-wing retorics.

Radical right positions are also highly visible in the sphere of new media. There is flourishing a creation of right-wing Internet subculture which is run and followed predominately by the youth, who are trying to popularize their opinions. In the quest to legitimize their positions, many of these groups are appropriating scientific discourse, along with some century-old anthropological theories, to envisage justifiable foundations for masculine chauvinism, cultural essentialism, social darwinism and plain racism. These ideas are then instrumentalized for imposing a strict and purist vision of western societies, while sustaining the current socio-economic relations of power and status quo, representing themselves to be the only rational alternative for the survival of Western ways of life. Their endeavors often escalate in explicite resentiment towards refugees and other immigrants, mainly muslims, but also other minorities or ethno-cultural identities. Meanwhile, the role of global left, fragmented as it is, is reduced to series of incoherrent and sporadic reactions, lacking comprehensive and shared ideological background that would be fit to propose an adequate and systematic analysis of the existent political state, and even more so, to give real resistance and viable opposition.

In order for us to come to the cause of this phenomenon, it is necessary to consider the circumstances in which it appears, as well as the particulars of the political strategy that the new radical right uses.

- How is an anti-immigration atmosphere in Europe associated with the wave of refugees from the Middle East and is the current approach in identity politics a valid tool to address this problem?

- Why has the notion of political struggle became confined to cultural politics, detrimentally to the politics of production and distribution

- Do corporations use contemporary identity politics as a mask to seem progressive and if so, is recognizing such hypocrisy affecting an overwhelming turn to the right-wing straightforwardness?

- Which methods are used by online agents and professional politicians in placing their policies? Is Internet, as an unstructured contemporary pedagogue and professor, influencing the dissemination of superficial and shallow knowledge, as well as confident dilettantism and unilateralism in coping with social reality?

- How do economic factors, such as unemployment, precarious work, stagnation of pay despite inflation, increased economic inequality and others, influence this radicalisation and what kind of analysis and attitude are needed for the theoretical and practical handling of the stated problem?

Considering the possible impact of (neo)classical economics on the rise of the radical right, the symposium's goal is to offer space for reports and suggestions of alternative economic and political models. Also, we sincerely call for supporters of left and right-wing oriented positions, be it political or economic, on a mutually critical dialogue.

These are some recommended topics:

- the phenomenon of “alternative facts” and their impact on the fragmentation of social trust as a fundamental category and the precondition for cooperation

- an analysis of the rate of religiosity and its relationship to worldview and political issues

- a comparative analysis of post-transition tendencies in Croatia, Hungary and Poland

- the political power of Catholic Church in Catholic countries and weakening of secular values

- an overview of the modern right from conservativism to alt-right populism

- linking the Croatian radical right with prevailing right-wing narratives of the contemporary world

- clarifying right-wing mythology by addressing more popular “buzz-words” such as “Cultural Marxism”, “gender ideologies” and other points of concern that fall into category of conspiracy theories

- the question of contradictions or antagonisms between certain liberal principles such as freedom and social equality

- consideration of alternative political systems based on democracy

- the issue of ethnic relations and minority rights in case studies from failed to successful examples of integration

- potential obsolescence of national states in the context of new epoch of mass culture

- the link between a degree of economic development of certain states and their socio-political awareness and action

- left-wing perspectives and opportunities in dominantly right-wing oriented societies

- relationship between democracy and capitalism

- relationship between capitalism and the phenomenon of annihilation of civil society and traditional communities

All applications for presentations must be due to November 15th, 2018, at: The applications should include an abstract of the paper (no longer than 500 words), followed by the basic information about the applicant, i.e. name, academic affiliation and student status.

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Custom tags:

#Zagreb, #political philosophy, #social philosophy, #marxism , #liberalism, #populism, #alt-right