Lecture by Costas Douzinas, 2014
Costas Douzinas delivered the 2014 year’s annual talk of Post-structural and Critical Thought Cluster at the University of Manchester.
The project sets its context in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, when worries over public safety and security became a central issue across the world. The subsequent crisis that broke out in 2008 in the USA and gradually spread in Europe initiated a protracted period of global slump and distressed views on political representation, for example the Occupy movement, the Indignados, or, more recently, uprisings in Greece, Turkey, and Brazil, to name but a few. In these instances, fear about environmental sustainability, economic stability, or social exclusion has permeated the public discourses, creating a strong narrative of an immanent threat, or, uncertainty about the future. These expressions of uncertainty and dissatisfaction are more than mere signs of insecurity. They profoundly question how we conceive of politics. From classical political action to a different sense of belonging and societal reactions, such as artistic expressions, but also religious ones, what is at stake when anxiety becomes the driving force of politics? Politics in Times of Anxiety project claims that anxiety is spread across society, personal life, as well as global, regional, and local levels, and has also become a pronounced feature of our time. In addition, this project takes the view that these forms, feelings, and affects of anxiety over democratic and liberal politics are more profound than they might appear to be.