• Elzbieta Matynia at Summer School as School 2019
Elzbieta Matynia: The Killing of Dialogue: Is Liberal Democracy Already History?

Elzbieta Matynia at Summer School as School 2019
16 August, 2019, 20:00
Venue: Boxing Club

Summer School as School
5 - 21 August, 2019

Stacion - Center Contemporary Art Prishtina has the pleasure to announce "The Killing of Dialogue: Is Liberal Democracy Already History?" by Elzbieta Matynia, part of the Public Program of Summer School as School 2019.

It was three decades ago, in 1989, that a new kind of revolutionary imaginary emerged, one that promised a new beginning and demonstrated the possibility of comprehensive systemic change without bloodshed. Velvet or otherwise un-radical, this kind of revolution has become a “site” of tangible hope, a site in which words have power, in which people are allowed to speak and are listened to, and where they realize their agency through instruments other than weapons. What a victorious triumph of liberal democracy… what a perfect backdrop for proclaiming the end of history.
So what has happened to this democratic imaginary that had the power to mobilize people across Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe and beyond? How is it that democracy has made such a u-turn, and that so many of us are now struck dumb as we watch its massive reversal? And how come de-democratization, under various guises, is taking place virtually everywhere? This talk explores certain paradoxes that link the opening up of democratic transformations in the region -- launched in Poland in the Spring of 1989 - to its troubling shrinkage three decades later.

Polish-born Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York. Her research in the sociology of arts and politics focuses on democratic transformation, and more recently, retreats from democracy, in Eastern Europe and beyond, on the concept of borderlands in the new shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. Her two recent books bring together theater of politics, performance art and citizens’ agency. An Uncanny Era (Yale University Press, 2014) presents post-revolutionary conversations between Europe’s most emblematic former dissidents: Czech playwright and president Václav Havel, and Polish political thinker Adam Michnik. Her Performative Democracy (Paradigm, 2009) explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Written by one who experienced an emerging public sphere within pre-1989 Poland, it seeks to identify the conditions for performativity in public life.