Futuring the Liberal Script #2 The Democratic Regression

SCRIPTS conversation 

Michael Zürn in conversation with Claus Offe
moderated by Yara Hoffmann 

Authoritarian populist parties are gaining strength in many places. Growing economic inequality in the wake of globalization and processes of cultural and social liberalization dominate current debates as explanations for the rise of national-authoritarian parties and the worldwide crisis of democracy. But these explanations are surprisingly apolitical. "The Democratic Regression," according to the findings and title of the recently published book by Armin Schäfer and Michael Zürn (Suhrkamp Verlag 2021), is rather the consequence of a double alienation - an alienation of political processes from their democratic ideal and of the population from democratic institutions. In conversation with political sociologist Claus Offe, Michael Zürn discusses the causes of the crisis of democracy and how political practice can be shaped and how democracy can be changed in real terms and renewed in order to counteract its retreat tendencies.


Claus Offe, Professor Emeritus of Political Sociology at the Hertie School, has held chairs for Political Science and Political Sociology at the Universities of Bielefeld, Bremen and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Michael Zürn, Director of the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS- Contestations of the Liberal Script, Professor of International Politics  at the Freie Universität Berlin, and Director of the Research Unit “Global Goverrnance” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center

An event by SCRIPTS in cooperation with Suhrkamp Verlag and silent green

Free YouTube Livestream

ABOUT THE SERIES - Futuring the Liberal Script 

“Futuring the Liberal Script” is a conversation series live from the silent green. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” discuss and analyze current crisis of liberal societies and democracies and reflect on future political imaginaries from diverse perspectives. As a script “in trouble” the liberal script needs manifold analytical and discursive registers for keeping track of open antagonisms but also of its inherent contradictions and tensions. 

As such, “futuring” is not necessarily a variant of optimizing, but rather relates to developing a critical and creative stance in response to current erosions and contestations of liberal values. The liberal script has to compete increasingly with alternative scripts and agendas for organizing societies, be they run by authoritarian, populist, Islamic fundamentalists, terrorist or technocratic autocracies. Whether liberal democracies are confident, flexible and agile enough to respond to the challenges posed by contrary political systems and alternative ideas is a central matter of acute political and social concern. The SCRIPTS conversations assemble a variety of views, concerns and actors by putting research topics and timely diagnosis up to public and ongoing debate.

Monday, July 5, 2021
Doors: 6.15 pm
Start: 7 pm
Free entrance
In German
Pre-registration is requested