of the CEE General Seminar
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The Centre’s general seminar invites colleagues from France and/or overseas to present their research, books, articles in progress. The seminar format consists in partnering senior and junior researchers.

Here you will find recordings from our previous seminars.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter on all our seminars, all cycles combined, to receive invitations to our future events.

Chris Bickerton, University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies & Carlo Invernizzi Accetti, City College of New York "Technopopulism The New Logic of Democratic Politics"

Technocratic appeals to expertise and populist invocations of 'the people' have become mainstays of political competition in established democracies. This development is best understood as the emergence of technopopulism—a new political logic that is being superimposed on the traditional struggle between left and right. Political movements and actors—such as Italy's Five Star Movement and France's La République En Marche—combine technocratic and populist appeals in a variety of ways, as do more established parties that are adapting to the particular set of incentives and constraints implicit in this new, unmediated form of politics. In the first book-length treatment of the phenomenon of technopopulism, we combine theoretical and historical approaches, offering a systematic definition of the concept of technopopulism, while also exploring a number of salient contemporary examples. This book* provides a detailed account of the emergence of this new political logic, as well as a discussion of its troubling consequences for existing democratic regimes. It ends by considering some possible remedies that go beyond the simplistic idea that in the right 'dose' populism and technocracy can counter-balance one another.

Elisabeth Ivarsflaten, University of Bergen & Paul Sniderman, Stanford University "The Struggle for Inclusion: Muslim Minorities and the Democratic Ethos"

The politics of inclusion is about more than hate, exclusion, and discrimination. It is a window into the moral character of contemporary liberal democracies. The Struggle for Inclusion* introduces a new method to the study of public opinion: to probe, step by step, how far non-Muslim majorities are willing to be inclusive, where they draw the line, and why they draw it there and not elsewhere. Those committed to liberal democratic values and their concerns are the focus, not those advocating exclusion and intolerance.

Notwithstanding the turbulence and violence of the last decade over issues of immigration and of Muslims in the West, the results of this study demonstrate that the largest number of citizens in contemporary liberal democracies are more open to inclusion of Muslims than has been recognized. Not less important, the book reveals limits on inclusion that follow from the friction between liberal democratic values. This pioneering work thus brings to light both pathways to progress and polarization traps.

Frédéric Mérand, Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM) "Un sociologue à la Commission européenne"

Proposant une sociologie du travail politique, ce livre rend compte de quatre années d’observation au sein du cabinet d'un commissaire européen. De 2015 à 2019, Pierre Moscovici et son équipe ont été confrontés à la crise grecque, aux faiblesses de l’Union économique et monétaire, aux scandales d'évasion fiscale et à la menace populiste italienne. Entre les luttes partisanes et les jeux diplomatiques, entre les tenants de la rigueur et les architectes d’un gouvernement économique, ils ont mené la politique de la zone euro. Frédéric Mérand a accompagné « les Moscovici » dans leurs réunions, de Bruxelles à Strasbourg, de Washington à Athènes. À la cantine ou dans les couloirs du Berlaymont, le siège de la Commission,l'auteur les a interrogés sur leurs stratégies et leurs espoirs. Frédéric Merand a aussirecueilli leurs peurs et leurs déceptions. Les observations qui en découlent permettent de comprendre comment on « fait de la politique » dans l'Union européenne. Au cours de ce récit ethnographique, la France n'est jamais loin. Décodant la trajectoire européenne d'un commissaire socialiste français, d'abord sous François Hollande puis Emmanuel Macron, Un sociologue à la Commission européenne explore les dynamiques qui parfois rapprochent Bruxelles et Paris, mais souvent les éloignent.

Paul Pierson, University of California, Berkeley "Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality"

Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality situates Donald Trump’s ascendance in the broader currents of American political development. Unlike many variants of "right-wing populism" the American version represents a curious hybrid of populism and plutocracy. Although American right-wing populism has real social roots, it has long been nurtured by powerful elites seeking to undercut support for modern structures of economic regulation and the welfare state. Steeply rising inequality in the United States generated an acute form of what Daniel Ziblatt has termed "the conservative dilemma." Over the past few decades, the Republican Party rejected a path of economic moderation. Instead, it chose to construct an apparatus for stoking political outrage, particularly in forms that accentuate and intensify racial divisions. American political institutions offered a distinctive opportunity for a populist figure to draw on this fury to first capture the nomination of the GOP, and from that position to ascend to the White House. Yet the administration’s substantive agenda constituted a full-throated endorsement of the GOP economic elite’s long-standing demands for cuts in social spending, sharp tax reductions for the wealthy, and the gutting of consumer, worker and environmental protections. The chasm between Trump’s rhetoric and his actions justifies a more skeptical assessment of the breadth and depth of American populism, one that acknowledges how its contours were shaped by the nation’s unusual political institutions, its intensifying political polarization and the out-sized influence of the wealthy. While Trump lost the 2020 election, these structural conditions remain. So do the distressing incentives these conditions create for one of the nation's two major political parties.

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