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Conversations about populism

14. May

The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory invites you to a panel discussion Conversations about Populism. The discussion was inspired by the publication of two proceedings edited by professor Mirjana Nikolić and professor Milena Dragićević Šešić from the University of Arts in Belgrade: Mediji, kultura i umetnost u doba populizma (published in 2018) focusing on changes in politics, culture and media in the era of populist politics and Situating Populist Politics: Arts & Media Nexus (published in 2019) which deals with art and media within cultural and public policies in response to populist and nationalist demands.

Although most of the theoreticians insist on the fact that the phenomenon of populism is difficult to grasp and to understand in its complexity, nearly all of them underline that populism is defined as doctrine “in the name of the people” articulating social emotions in political programs and even in political battles. The “call to the people” has to be dynamic, offering policy actions in the name of the needs of the people. Thus, the era of “geopolitics of emotion” that divides not only continents but also social elites from the people is favourable for the development of populism. The most pertinent definition of populism comes from Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell stating that populism is an ideology that “pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice”. Thus, populism is studied as an ideology which deeply pervades modern societies and reflects itself on nearly all segments of social and public policies and practices, considerably shaping the spheres of politics, culture, media, even arts.

Populism is gradually, although not very visibly, entering the center of interest of Serbian science and Serbian society. Since the mid-1980s, populist communication, in the beginning almost imperceptibly, conquered the media and cultural space of Serbia, only to prevail in public discourse in the 1990s and significantly influence the shaping of the public sphere, its ideological and aesthetic values. Historians, such as Dubravka Stojanović, believe that Serbia is the ""avant-garde of populism"", that the beginning of populism can be linked to the early seventies of the 19th century. She says: "Serbia is deep and long in populism, so it can be freely claimed that it did not even come out of populism" and adds that Latinka Perović discovered populism as a continuity in our history.

The discussion will be concerned with a wide range of topics that show different ways that populist political communication is entering the public realm, but even more to what extent arts, culture and media are influenced by political populism.

Milena Dragićević Šešić, professor emeritus of the University of Arts in Belgrade
Mirjana Nikolić, full professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and rector of the University of Arts in Belgrade
Monika Mokre, senior research associate at the Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Miikka Pyykkönen, professor of cultural policy at the University of Jyväskylä and a docent of sociology at the University of Helsinki
Marjan Ivković, research associate at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Mark Losoncz, research associate at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade


14. May