EssaysEventsMedia/Publics

The Discontinuous Borders of the European Union

Migrants, refugees, and the labor market

The powerful image of thousands of migrants marching together on the motorway between Budapest and Vienna, in the first week of September, is one of those images capable of symbolizing a turning point. It made visible the utter failure of the European policies on immigration and political asylum, while symbolizing the ongoing open contestation of the borders of Fortress Europe. As a part of this …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/Publics

Diagnosing American Politics

What the rise of Trump says about American democracy

I have a morbid fascination with Carl Schmitt. Morbid, because he manages to condense, in his political theory and philosophy of law, pretty much everything I find repulsive about the radical right. His pessimism about “human nature” is raw and simplistic and, unlike Hobbes, whom he superficially resembles, he is uninterested in clamping down on sin-infected humanity by way of a social contract that invests all sovereignty in an …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/Publics

My Living Room as a Public Sphere

An Iranian experiment in free society

“I’m not certain that the ideal society should be religious. I start from the premise that the ideal society should be secular.” So spoke documentary filmmaker, Mehran Tamadon, in a conversation with the four conservative mullahs, advocates of the Islamic republic, he invited to be part of his new movie Iranian. The conversation consists of five men sitting in a living room in Iran, arguing about the ideal society: this is pretty much the plot.

Behind closed doors, the mullahs’ wives are relegated to the bedrooms as their children play in the garden; in the living room, the four clerics and the self-avowed atheist embark upon a fascinating experiment. …

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