Aug 29th, 2019
Reports of the death of democracy may be greatly exaggerated. However, there is mounting evidence that many people are losing trust in our democratic institutions. Today people in countries we regard as non-democratic often have greater confidence in their governments to act in their interests than we do. Observers pin the blame on our out-of-touch governments, corrupt media and politicians, big corporations and a growing gap between rich and poor. More than a few disaffected citizens are meanwhile attracted to new populisms because they feel dragged down by economic dissatisfaction, broken promises, decline and injustice. In his talk, John Keane will survey recent trends to suggest that democracy urgently needs reimagining if it is to address the dangers and opportunities posed by current global realities. His talk will offer a radically new interpretation of the twenty-first century fate of democracy and why, despite everything, it may survive the current anti-democratic trends and remain a global ideal. Renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy, John Keane has been described by the ABC as one of 'Australia's great intellectual exports'. He is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), and Distinguished Professor at Peking University. He is the Director and co-founder of the Sydney Democracy Network. Keane has contributed to The New York Times, Al Jazeera, the Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Harper’s, the South China Morning Post and The Huffington Post. His latest book, The New Despotisms, on the global rise of despotism and the decline of democracy in the West, is to be published by Harvard University Press in early 2020.