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News from the AUTHLIB Consortium

March 2023

 

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The first issue of the AUTHLIB – Neo-Authoritarianisms in Europe and the Liberal Democratic Response project’s newsletter shares with you our most important milestones and publications from the project’s first half year from its official launch in October 2022 to March 2023.

What is AUTHLIB?

The Horizon project AUTHLIB investigates the sources and implications of the normative divergence from the model of liberal democracy in Europe. It is based on the premise that liberal democracy faces not one ideological challenge but many. Against that background, it carefully and systematically explores the varieties of illiberalism and their appeal, in their contemporary forms and historical appearances, in opposition and in power, in the domestic political arena, and at the level of international networks. Besides shedding light on the diversity of the illiberal challenge, AUTHLIB’s other main aim is to provide a toolkit for policymakers to defend and enhance liberal democracy against its challengers by understanding and explaining the nature of illiberal ideologies, processes, and policies. The toolkit—consisting of case-specific sets of tools—will offer theoretically, normatively, and empirically grounded ways of responding to the specifics of illiberal claims against liberal democracy.

Find out more about us on AUTHLIB’s website. To make sure you don’t miss any of our upcoming events and publications, follow us via our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues and friends who might be interested in our research and activities.

Recent Highlights

 

Events

Members of the AUTHLIB consortium met for the first time in-person at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2022 to kick off their three-year cooperation seeking to better understand the challenges liberal democracies in Europe face today. The inception meeting was accompanied by a public conference titled “Illiberal Challenges, Neo-Authoritarian Challengers: Threats to Liberal Democracy in Europe” discussing these challenges and seeking potential responses to defend democracy in Europe.

In February 2023, the consortium met online to discuss the conceptual work and literature review conducted under the leadership of Radosław Markowski at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities within the Work Package “Identifying the challenges to liberal democracy”. The meeting was followed in March by a hybrid workshop focusing on the guidelines for empirical data collection developed within the same Work Package.

Finally, the month of March closed with an online public discussion titled “The Many Faces of Autocratization: Diversity and Cooperation among Authoritarian Actors”, which presented the first issue of AUTHLIB’s Working Paper series.

 

First Meeting of the AUTHLIB Consortium

Members of the AUTHLIB consortium met for the first time in-person at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, to kick off their three-year cooperation seeking to better understand the challenges liberal democracies in Europe face today. The goal of the meeting on October 20-21, 2022, was to establish personal relations among the partners, initiate joint thinking across work packages, …

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Illiberal Challenges, Neo-Authoritarian Challengers—Videos from AUTHLIB’s Kick-off are Now Online

Videos from AUTHLIB’s kick-off conference titled “Illiberal Challenges, Neo-Authoritarian Challengers: Threats to Liberal Democracy in Europe,” organized on October 20, 2022, are now available on AUTHLIB’s YouTube channel: Keynote speech by Michael Ignatieff (Central European University)Panel discussion with Thomas Carothers (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Staffan Lindberg (University of Gothenburg), Mieke Verloo (Radboud University), and Marlene Wind (University of Copenhagen), moderated …

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Illiberalism, Authoritarianism, Populism? Laying the Groundwork for AUTHLIB

The AUTHLIB consortium held its first virtual workshop on February 24, 2023 to discuss the conceptual work and literature review conducted under the leadership of Radosław Markowski at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities within the work package “Identifying the challenges to liberal democracy.” The discussion focused on three key challenges identified by the team—illiberalism, authoritarianism, and populism—and …

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AUTHLIB Consortium Discusses Empirical Data Collection in Vienna

The AUTHLIB consortium held a hybrid internal workshop on March 29, 2023 on-site at the University of Vienna and online. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the project’s guidelines for empirical data collection that were developed over the previous month as a collaborative effort under the leadership of Radosław Markowski and his team at the SWPS University of …

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The Many Faces of Autocratization: Diversity and Cooperation among Authoritarian Actors

The AUTHLIB consortium cordially invites you to the online discussion titled “The Many Faces of Autocratization: Diversity and Cooperation among Authoritarian Actors” on Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. CEST / 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST

The political developments of the last decade put key components of liberal democracy—checks and balances, pluralism, …

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Publications

The AUTHLIB consortium launched the AUTHLIB Working Papers series and the AUTHLIB Blog in the beginning of 2023.

The AUTHLIB Working Papers present preliminary results from ongoing research prior to final publication. The series seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate discussion about work in progress between the AUTHLIB core team and affiliates, the academic community working on the varieties of threats and challenges to liberal democracy in Europe as well as on possible avenues to counter them, and the interested public. It provides an opportunity for the AUTHLIB team and researchers affiliated with consortium members to disseminate and receive feedback on their work. It also showcases the complex focus of AUTHLIB’s inquiries to the academic and general public.

The AUTHLIB Blog is a platform of academic and policy debate publishing commentary, analysis, and opinion pieces around the topics of (neo-)authoritarianism, illiberalism, populism, challenges to liberal democracy, democratic erosion and backsliding, democratic security and resilience, and related political events and developments primarily but not exclusively on the European scene. It seeks to facilitate discussion between the scholarly and policy communities dealing with the above questions, in a language that is accessible also to the broader public.

See our first publications below.

AUTHLIB Working Papers

Zsolt Enyedi – Ideologies of Autocratization

In this first AUTHLIB Working Paper, Zsolt Enyedi (Central European University) explores the ideological modules of the recent wave of autocratization and finds that the emerging illiberal alternatives are still fragmented but increasingly robust. He shows that the illiberal discourse is anti-universalist but typically not openly anti-democratic, and that it gains much of …

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AUTHLIB Blog

The Many Faces of Autocratization: Exploring the Ideological Spectrum

Understanding the values, ideas, and norms held by the illiberal drivers of the current trend of global de-democratization is crucial for strengthening the resilience of liberal democracy. A comprehensive review suggests that the emergence of a coherent ideology of autocratization is unlikely, but there is an intensification of ideological framing, structured around illiberal conservatism, paternalist populism and civilizationist ethnocentrism. Zsolt …

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Defeating Populism: The 2023 Czech Presidential Elections

How can populism be defeated? In the Czech presidential election, the populist billionaire Andrej Babis was defeated by the ability of  his opponent, Petr Pavel, to build a broad democratic coalition and to mobilize civil society. Petra Guasti and Lenka Bustikova March 9, 2023   In January’s presidential election in the Czech Republic, after the most vitriolic campaign in the …

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Snap Elections in Bulgaria: Another Chance for the Radical Right?

On April 2, Bulgarians will go to the polls for the fifth time since 2021 as their country holds yet again parliamentary snap elections amid an ongoing political deadlock. This weakens its stability as a key NATO and EU member state in Southeastern Europe. It also benefits the radical right, which is gaining support and seeking to push Bulgaria back …

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The project “AUTHLIB – Neo-Authoritarianisms in Europe and the Liberal Democratic Response” is funded by the European Union and the UK Research and Innovation. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or UK Research and Innovation. Neither the European Union nor the UK Research and Innovation can be held responsible for them.

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