Events

Authoritarian Liberalism and the Transformation of Modern Europe

Hosted by the Department of Law

Speakers

Bojan Bugaric

Bojan Bugaric

University of Sheffield

Alexander Somek

Alexander Somek

University of Vienna

Ruth Dukes

Ruth Dukes

University of Glasgow

Eva Nanopoulos

Eva Nanopoulos

Queen Mary, University of London

Michaela Hailbronner

Michaela Hailbronner

University of Giessen

Chair

Floris De Witte

Floris De Witte

Associate Professor, Department of Law

Moderator

Floris De Witte

Neil Walker

University of Edinburgh

Celebrating the launch of a new book by Dr Michael Wilkinson. 

This book recounts the transformation of Europe from the interwar era until the euro crisis, using the tools of constitutional analysis and critical theory. Interwar liberalism, rocked by mass politics and social inequality, actively turns to authoritarianism in an attempt to suppress democracy, with disastrous consequences in Weimar and beyond. After the Second World War, economic liberalism is restored through a passive authoritarianism: inter-state sovereignty is restrained, state-society relations are depoliticised, and social relations transformed. In this process, European integration is substituted for internationalism, technocracy for democracy, and economic liberty for political freedom and class struggle. This transformation takes time to unfold and it presents continuities as well as discontinuities. It is deepened by the neoliberalism of the Maastricht era and the creation of Economic and Monetary Union, and yet counter-movements also emerge: the return of the German question, constitutional challenges to European integration, and anti-systemic political parties. Struggles over sovereignty, democracy, and political freedom resurface, but are then more actively repressed through the authoritarian liberalism of the euro crisis phase. This leads now to an impasse. Although anti-systemic politics have returned, they remain uneasily within the EU. If the postwar order of authoritarian liberalism has reached its limits, there is yet to be any definitive rupture.

Mike Wilkinson, Associate Professor of Law at LSE, studied at University College London, the College of Europe, Bruges, and completed a PhD at the European University Institute, Florence. Prior to taking up his post at LSE in 2007, Mike was lecturer at Manchester University, EU-US Fulbright Research Fellow at Columbia and NYU and was called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in 2000. He has also taught at Cornell University as adjunct professor of law and been a visiting professor at Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Keio University Tokyo.

Neil Walker holds the Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh. His main area of expertise is constitutional theory. He has published extensively on the constitutional dimension of legal order at sub-state, state, supranational and global levels, and on the relationship between security, legal order and political community. Previously he was Professor of Legal and Constitutional Theory at the University of Aberdeen (1996-2000), and Professor of European Law at the European University Institute, Florence (2000-8). He has an LLD (Honoris Causa) from the University of Uppsala, is a Fellow of the British Academy, and  also of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His most recent books are the monograph,  Intimations of Global Law (Cambridge, 2015) and the edited collections,  The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications ( Oxford, 2016), and Sovereignty in Action , Cambridge, 2019)  He is presently undertaking  a study of the place of law in utopian visions of society within the framework of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.

Bojan Bugaric is Professor (Chair in Law) at the University of Sheffield, Department of Law and Associate Fellow, SPERI (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute).  He was previously Professor of Law at University of Ljubljana. His research focuses on constitutional law, international economic law  and law/political economy of the European integration. He has held visiting positions at the University of Trento, UCLA Law School and and at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University. His most recent work includes: with Mark Tushnet, Power to the People: Constitutionalism in the Age of Populism (OUP, 2021, forthcoming); with Mark Tushnet,  Populism and Constitutionalism: An Essay on Definitions and Their Implications, forthcoming, Cardozo Law Review (2021).

Alexander Somek is currently professor of legal philosophy in the Faculty of Law, University of Vienna. Prior to the present appointment, he held the Charles E. Floete Chair in the College of Law, University of Iowa, and he has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and at the London School of Economics. He was a Law and Public Affairs fellow at Princeton in the academic year 2012-3 and a fellow in the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin during 2007-8.

Ruth Dukes is Professor of Labour Law at the University of Glasgow and PI on the ERC-funded project Work on Demand. She is the author of The Labour Constitution: the Enduring Idea of Labour Law (Oxford 2014, 2017). Together with the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, she is currently writing a book on Democracy at Work. 

Eva Nanopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of The Juridification of Individual Sanctions and the Politics of EU Law (Hart, 2020) and co-editor of The Crisis Behind the Euro-Crisis: The Eurocrisis as a Multidimensional Systemic Crisis of the EU (CUP, 2019). She is currently working on a new project, Decolonizing Sanctions: A Legal History and Theory and is more generally interested in histories and theories of international law, including EU law, the relationship between law, capitalism and imperialism, and critical legal theory. 

Michaela Hailbronner is a Professor of Public Law and Human Rights at the University of Giessen. Michaela completed two German law degrees at the University of Freiburg and the Kammergericht of Berlin before doing an LL.M. and a J.S.D. (doctorate) at Yale Law School (LL.M. 2010 and J.S.D. 2013). Her analysis of German constitutionalism against a broader comparative background appeared in a paper that won the I.CON Inaugural Best Paper Award 2014 and in her first book Traditions and Transformations: The Rise of German Constitutionalism (Oxford University Press, 2015). Her more recent work has been in the field of comparative constitutional law and human rights, appearing inter alia in the American Journal of Comparative Law and the University of Toronto Law Journal. She is currently working on a new book project examining judicial responses to institutional failure in a range of domestic and international legal systems.

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This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.

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