“Populism and the Future of Democracy”
The Talloires Conference
Tufts University European Center, Talloires, France
June 15–17, 2018
Planning Committee: Michèle Lamont, Theodore Gilman, Bart Bonikowski, Daniel Ziblatt, Sarah Banse
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This year’s conference will consider the causes of—and threats posed by—the rise of radical politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Rather than engage in definitional struggles or protracted debates about the primacy of one causal factor over another, the goal is to mobilize cuttingedge research toward a clear and accessible discussion concerning the future of democratic politics and equitable social relations in Europe and the United States. These topics will be explored from multiple disciplinary directions: political scientists will reflect on institutional dynamics (and solutions), and the structure of party politics; sociologists will bring to the discussion research on collective identities, group boundaries, and migration; and historically oriented scholars will draw lessons from past periods of radicalism.
FRIDAY, JUNE 15
4:00–4:15 p.m. | Welcome
Michèle Lamont, Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies; Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, Departments of Sociology and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
4:15–6:15 p.m. | Session I: Lessons from Past Waves of Radical Politics
- To what degree are comparisons with past periods of radicalism useful or misguided?
- What can we learn about the causes of the rise in populist right politics from past historical cases?
- What factors historically mitigated or exacerbated the erosion of democratic institutions during periods of political instability?
Chair: Bart Bonikowski, Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
Panelists: Daniel Ziblatt, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Mabel Berezin, Professor of Sociology, Cornell University
Herbert Kitschelt, George V. Allen Professor of International Relations, Duke University
7:00 p.m. | Reception and dinner at Hotel de L’Abbaye
SATURDAY, JUNE 16
8:30–10:30 a.m. | Session II: EU as a Cause of—and Potential Solution to—Anti-Pluralist Politics
- To what extent is the rise of the populist radical right a consequence of the EU’s own policies, democratic deficit or the thinness of European identity?
- How can the EU effectively respond to democratic backsliding in member states?
- What institutional reforms might the EU consider, if any, to dampen the demand for radical politics in Europe?
Chair: Daniel Ziblatt, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Panelists: Daniel Kelemen, Professor of Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Politics, Rutgers University
Daphne Halikiopoulou, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, University of Reading
Juan Díez Medrano, Professor of Sociology, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
10:30 a.m. | Group photo and break
11:00–1:00 p.m. | Session III: The Future of Immigration and Immigration Policy
- To what degree is immigration itself—rather than discourse about immigration—a factor in the rise of radical politics in Europe and the United States?
- What distinct challenges do multiple migration streams—those of EU citizens within the Schengen Zone, of labor migrants from outside the EU, and of refugees—pose for Europe today? How does the composition of migrant streams affect immigration politics in the United States?
- How can democractic states effectively respond to the challenges posed by immigration?
Chair: Michele Lamont, Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies; Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, Departments of Sociology and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Panelists: Virginie Guiraudon, Director of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Sciences-Po Paris
Cybelle Fox, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Gökce Yordakul, Georg Simmel Professor of Diversity and Social Conflict, Humboldt University
1:00 p.m. | Lunch at Le Prieuré
2:00–4:30 p.m. | Break
4:30–6:30 p.m. | Session IV: Responses of Mainstream Parties to Anti-Establishment Challengers
- How can the center-left address the apparent crisis of social democracy in Europe?
- What mechanisms might prevent the center-right from adopting increasingly radical policies and discourse in response to populist parties?
- To coopt the radical right, should the far right always be “kept out” of governing coalitions (i.e. grand coalitions) or should they be “mainstreamed” by including them?
Chair: Alexander Görlach, In Defense of Democracy Affiliate Professor at the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation at Harvard College's Adams House; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Panelists: Tim Bale, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London
Julia Azari, Associate Professor of Political Science, Marquette University
Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
7:30 p.m. | Reception and dinner at Le Cottage Bise
Chair: Michèle Lamont, Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies; Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, Departments of Sociology and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Keynote: “Economics, Culture and the Sources of the Populist Surge”
Peter Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Department of Government, Harvard University
SUNDAY, JUNE 17
9:00–11:00 a.m. | Session V: Media, Misinformation, and Polarization
- How should the media cover populist politics in an era of “fake news” and persistent violations of political norms?
- What role have changes to the media langscape, including the growth of social media, played in the rise of radical politics—and what opportunities might they hold for resistance against democratic backsliding?
- Have media consumption practices become increasingly segmented and if so, to what degree is this a result of, or contributing factor to, partisan polarization?
Chair: Steven Erlanger, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, The New York Times
Panelists: Jonathan Ladd, Associate Professor McCourt School of Public Policy and Government, Georgetown University
Kari Steen-Johnsen, Sociologist and Research Leader for the Political, Democratic and Civil Society Group, Institute for Social Research, Oslo
Lilliana Mason, Assistant Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
11:00 a.m. | Closing Remarks
Bart Bonikowski, Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University Daniel Ziblatt, Professor of Government, Harvard University
12:00 p.m. | Lunch and farewell at Hotel de l’Abbaye