Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference: Democracy and Populism: A New Age of Extremes?
The rise of populist movements has dominated politics, particularly in liberal democracies, in recent years. This has been a process defined by polarised debates, centrifugal political forces, and seemingly intractable confrontations that have challenged dominant understandings of both domestic and international order. Discourse and debate, the exchange of ideas, and acknowledgement of the complexity of governance appear to have been marginalised in favour of parochial sloganeering and seemingly mutually exclusive interests. This raises questions as to whether established understandings of political divides and dynamics are increasingly redundant, creating new tensions in the public realm and the discipline itself.
Rather than seeking to overcome these tensions, it is critical to remember that tension can also drive change. The fluidity and unpredictability of contemporary politics presents as much challenge as it does opportunity. As such, the conference theme seeks to explore whether these tensions open new possibilities for discussion and transformation. It calls for papers that will critically investigate the landscape of these fluid tensions as well as interrogating the tools we use to grapple with this.
The 2017 APSA Conference is hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University.