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Wednesday, March 29 2017 since 1997 Summer Semester 2017



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Critics of liberalism

The notion of liberalism recalls one of the most influential political traditions of Europe and the Western world. It captures a variety of positions, ways of thinking, mentalities, practices, and programs that hardly fit under the rubric of one single and unitary concept. Since its 18th-century origins, the concept of ‘liberalism’ assembled an enticing conglomerate of political promises: emancipation and freedom, ideas of statehood, government, and law, free trade agreements and market utopias, projects of general education, and visions of a universal humanity. The liberal idea of ‘Bildung’ was at the center of the Mosse family’s great achievements; it was also at the core of the scholarly work of the historian George L.  Mosse; with this lecture series we honor their legacy.

Historically liberalism was the arena of social and political conflicts in struggle with authoritarian and restorative tendencies on the one hand and socialist movements on the other. It raised hard questions about the reciprocal relationship between freedom and equality, self-determination and social justice, private ownership and common welfare. Liberalism, as it were, had the potential and the reservoir of ideas to find solutions to these questions.

In post-war West Germany the ordo-liberals, as they were called, were still striving to find a third way between laissez faire and a planned economy. Since the neoliberal dogma emerged in the 1970s, however, this modest critique of capitalism has given way to the implementation of the financial capitalism of our days. This series of Mosse Lecture will trace the shifts in the concept of ‘liberalism’ and its economic, ecological, and gender issues, global consequences and dislocations. The question arises whether a somehow obsolete liberalism, currently enforced under the rubric of neoliberalism, can offer solutions for problems which it has no means even to articulate on a global scale.


Christoph Menke Thursday, April 20, 2017, 07:15 pm,
Colin Crouch Thursday, May 04, 2017, 07:15 pm,
Dieter Langewiesche Thursday, May 18, 2017, 07:15 pm,
Nancy Fraser Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 07:15 pm,
Jost Hermand Thursday, June 01, 2017, 07:15 pm,
Pankaj Mishra Thursday, June 22, 2017, 07:15 pm,