A Conversation with Philipp Lepenies and Ulrike Herrmann, moderated by Silke Burmester
Renunciation and prohibition play a central role in a sustainable social and ecological transformation. But what can the state tell us, what interference in individual liberties is allowed/acceptable when it comes, for example, to climate protection or the management of social crises and the common good? A fundamental, emotionally heated defensive attitude has developed in recent years as soon as it comes to state regulations, states the political scientist Philipp Lepenies in his most recently published book Verbot und Verzicht. Politik aus dem Geist des Unterlassens. (Suhrkamp 2022). For Lepenies, this is also a consequence of an “everyday neoliberalism”, which transfigures consumer sovereignty into an inalienable right to freedom and the state into a principled opponent. But how can a concept of freedom be established that is more than the freedom to make individual consumption decisions? How much affect control does a stable democracy need in view of current upheavals and crises? Can a comprephensive ecological and social transformation succeed without prohibition and renunciation? In the 5th episode of the series Futuring the Liberal Script Philipp Lepenies discusses these and other questions with the journalist Ulrike Herrmann, moderated by Silke Burmester.
Philipp Lepenies, Professor of Political Science, SCRIPTS Cluster Professorship for Sustainable Development, Freie Universität Berlin
Ulrike Herrmann, journalist, author, economic editor for “die tageszeitung”
Silke Burmester, author, freelance journalis
An event organised by the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” in cooperation with Suhrkamp Verlag and silent green
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.