The DiscourseNet Winter School brings together advanced MA as well as PhD students (BA students with an own research project are also welcome) who want to pursue research on Capitalism in Global Crisis revolving around economic transformations, new authoritarianism, and resistance with respect to Discourse Studies and to discuss the methodological and theoretical challenges of their thesis projects or first ideas.
In the last decades, the economies in different countries and regions as well as the global economic power relations have changed. Three characteristics are significant: first, the US economic hegemony, expressed by a dominant position in almost all traditional leading industries, becomes step by step replaced by a tri-pole structure consisting by a rising Asian field of economic innovation (with China as regional superpower), a declining North American pole and a consolidating European pole (with Germany as regional hegemon) torn between the aspiring East and former West. Second, rising economic inequalities can be observed in all capitalist economies, including China, Russia and East/Central Europe, with the formation of a small wealthy elite on the top of economic hierarchy, shrinking middle classes splitting up between the top and bottom, and a widening array of lower classes more and more excluded from social recognition, welfare, consumption and other forms of social participation. Wealthy and innovative areas on the one hand, and declining regions disconnected from global innovations on the other hand reflect these cleavages geographically. And, finally, a forth technological revolution (catchwords: Industry 4.0, digitalisation, 5G, green economy) is currently changing global value chains, working relations and the general distribution of labour and value. These tendencies of the global economy have huge impacts on political discourses, social identities, life styles, social conflicts and the formation of new milieus. Among diverse social, cultural and political reactions to these global transformations new forms of authoritarianism seem to be of significant analytical importance.
New authoritarianism can take different forms. The narrative that the (Western) world inscribes itself within a history of progress, of political and social advances and that this process is irreversible are no longer convincing. New forms of nationalism, nativism, racism, anti-semitism, anti-feminism, chauvinism, anti-social, religious extremism, ethnocentrism and ideological responses to economic crises are threatening human emancipation. New forms of authoritarian governance arise on a plurality of social backgrounds and in a variety of forms, from nationalism, to populism and from right-wing extremism towards ideologies of economic impositions. These anti-emancipatory tendencies are not limited to specific social movements or politics. Therefore, they require an analysis of a diversity of social phenomenon, like power constellations, discourses, historic memory, economic conditions, processes of subjectivation, etc. In contrast to extremism, the approach on authoritarianism does not analyze its objects from the margins of society; and unlike populism, authoritarianism does not require an approach on hegemony. However, there are also forms of extremist or populist authoritarianism. Yet, the role of new authoritarianism for and within ongoing global transformations of the economy seems to be oscillating between a consolidation of existing power relations and a nationalist form of resistance against certain neoliberal policies.
Despite the rise of authoritarian tendencies, there is a notable amount of social movements resisting them: the feminist movement, LGBTQ movement, ecological movements, minority group movements, worker movements, refugee movements, anti-racist, anti-nationalist, anti-fascist, anti-capitalist movements, and also more authoritarian resistance. Many of these movements explicitly argue against silencing of experiences of various social groups, and do the work revealing structures of power, imagining alternatives and proposing solutions to power imbalances, exclusion, symbolic and physical violence. In this ideological work, new subjectivities are formed and existing ones redefined, new ways of expressing agency are created. Development of the digital communication infrastructure has been especially important in these processes, as online spaces have been pivotal for coordination of social action, assisting in formation of global social movements. Critical discourse studies have been especially active in critiquing the less-democratic discourses, while the analysis of resistant discourses and clashes between different kinds of discourses, as well as conditions that allow them to arise and develop, are also of significance. We welcome papers exploring these and other possible dimensions of resistant discourses.
Possible topics include:
· Race, class and gender in global capitalism
· Material resistance and counter discourses
· Forms of authoritarianism and its relation to neoliberalism in crisis
· Intersectionality, identity politics and new subjectivities
· Global political economy and economic discourses
· (Post)colonial capitalism in new global constellations
· Anti-Fascism, socialism and left-wing authoritarianism
· Old and new exclusions: migration, borders and ecologic crisis
· Ideologies and post-truth in times of technological revolutions
· Digital transformation & forms of culture and sociality in late capitalism
The aim of the Winter School is to bring young and established discourse researchers together to address practical challenges in discourse research. The event will provide a collaborative exchange and hands-on research experience in a rather informal workshop setting. Introductory workshops on the following fields of inquiry will be given by more experienced scholars from the Universities of Giessen, Moscow, Warwick and Valencia, together with guests from other international universities: Discourse; New Authoritarianism; Resistance.
Our keynote speaker Ngai-Ling Sum from the Lancaster University will provide a lecture on “The Cultural Political Economy of Hope/Fear:
Ordoliberal Authoritarianism and the Case of China”
Participants from the disciplines and fields of sociology, political sciences, literary and cultural studies, media and communication, education, geography, philosophy, linguistics and related areas in the social sciences and humanities are all invited.
Applicants are expected to send in proposals which include an abstract with one’s project (no more than 250 words) as well as an academic CV. The abstract will consist of a title and a description of the proposed research project or presentation.
Proposals should be sent in by the 30th of September 2020. We will inform you on 15th of October if you are accepted or not.
In case of acceptance, each participant will be asked to send in a 10-page version of the research project by December 31st 2020. These longer texts should delineate the research object, lay out the research questions, situate the project in the field, and reflect on the preferred methods. These versions will be circulated among the participants prior to the event and will be used by the commentators. Each participant will get two comments on their paper by two experts. During the Winter School, the students will not present their entire papers but elaborate on specific points, practical problems and methodological challenges of their projects. If they wish, the participants can stay the weekend after and join in the social activities with the organisers in the Valencia region.
The DiscourseNet Winter School is free of charge. In case of equal quality of the application, DiscourseNet members will be considered first. If you want to join DiscourseNet, please write a message to firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, email address and professional status (e.g. PhD student, professor, independent researcher). There are places for up to 25 participants. The working language is English.
The Winter School is organised by members of the DIPE (Discourse, Ideology, and Political Economy) research group within DiscourseNet. DiscourseNet is an interdisciplinary and international association of discourse researchers existing since 2007.