— The Erimtan Angle —

‘Jan Blommaert, Professor of Linguistic Anthropology at Tilburg University and Visiting Professor in the PhD program in Applied Linguistics at Hellenic American University, met the Greek public again οn February 27th 2015, with a talk entitled “The Limits to Democracy”. The lecture was organized by the Hellenic American College Linguistics Department in cooperation with Hellenic American University (Manchester, NH, USA). Prof. Blommaert has provided the following abstract of his talk: This lecture will examine a discursive template that has emerged in the context of austerity politics all over the EU: that of “limited democracy”. In this template, democratic procedures and principles are suggested to be subject – inferior – to concerns of a higher order, and two such concerns stand out. One, the economic conjuncture which needs to be turned around by means of more market-less government strategies, in which the democratic system is asked to withdraw from large sets of previously entrenched decision-making powers. Two, and as a corollary of the first one, security: threats to “political stability” are presented as danger for democracy and have to be met with new forms of informal justice and radical policing, jeopardizing (or undercutting) established civil liberties in a democratic society. The “limits to democracy” framework has spawned new social and political movements in the EU – Syriza, Podemos and several others – for whom the “crisis” is less an economic issue than a crisis of the fundamentals of the democratic system’.  

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