Freedom Writ Large: A conference on attacks on freedom in Europe and what we can do about it

On September 28 we will open the doors to a 2-day conference on Attacks on Freedom in Europe and what we can do about it. The event is organised by Edgeryders in partnership with UCL , Tartu University (Estonia), Jagiellonian University (Poland), Charles University ( Czech Republic), and Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary).The event is the final conference of PopRebel, a European research project on neo-feudalism and neo-traditionalism. It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822682.

Program: Read & Discuss here.


Registration: Send email expressing interest to ivan@edgeryders.eu

Event Program

NB: Under development and will continue to be updated till the day of the event.


THEME: Attacks on freedom in Europe, and what to do about it.

DATE: 2022-09-27T22:00:00Z2022-09-29T22:00:00Z (t.b.c)

FORMAT: ONLINE

  • a series of panels in form of the Zoom sessions
  • each panel consists of 3-4 speakers, at least one of them is non-academic
  • sessions run for a maximum of 90 minutes, with 15 minutes breaks

Keynote + reflections on the keynote

Details t.b.c

Proposed speakers:

PANELS

Opening Panel

Hold the Line: A conversation between civil society and defence on resistance in the face of attacks on freedom

Civil society actors are ideologically diverse, ranging from authoritarian to libertarian. Their take on the issues of security and defence will vary dramatically. Some “territorial defence” groups in Europe are like supremacist militias in the US. Very ideological. On the other hand we have groups that are genuinely interested in the security their societies, families, neighbourhoods, etc. In this panel we bring together leaders from civil society and defence experts for sense-making around preparedness, response and recovery from armed conflict.

Keywords: Preparedness, Response, Recovery

Proposed Speakers:

Panel #1

How to win an election when the economy is struggling?
Voting behaviour in a situation of economic decline

Proposed Speakers:

CUB to choose between:

  • Krisztina SZABÓ: - Local economic voting, perception and voters’ attitude: Evidence from Hungarian survey and local economic data.
  • András TÉTÉNYI: - Exogenous shocks and voter behaviour in Central and Eastern Europe

From the ethnographer’s pov:

  • Jitka Kralova - the effects of the COVID pandemic bringing on stage marginal voices and anti-liberal discourses, intertwined with populist rhetoric

  • Guest participants - VOLT?

Panel #2

How to dress like an authoritarian: populist characters in search of an author
Populist solutions in different situations
tbc

Proposed Speakers:
  • Sean Hanley and Piret Ehin: Left wing populism vs right wing populism

possible contribuitons tbc:

  • Vassilis Petsinis - Baltic States vs ex-Yugoslavia in the post transition period

From the ethnographer’s pov:

  • Magdalena Goralska - Poland and the role of social media in shaping polarizing narratives online - are the debates still possible?

Panel #3

How to run a business in a politically challenging environment?
Neofeudalism: the invisible yoke on the economic freedom

Proposed Speakers:
  • Istvan Kollai on the concept of neo-feudalism
    possible contributors:

  • Peter Arvai - PREZI

  • Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä

Panel #4

How to build an anti-authoritarian culture?
Resistance through art

Proposed Speakers:
  • Maria Asavei (Charles University)- Strategies of Resistance through Art to Right-Wing Populism in East-Central Europe: Archives and Fake Political Parties

  • Maria Asavei, @Jirka_Kocian - [Theatre as resistance to right-wing populism in Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary](https://Include me out: theatre as sites of resistance to right-wing populism in Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary)

possible contributors:

  • Paolo Cirio,
  • Dada Art collective, Beatrice Ramos,
  • Daniel Vaarik

Panel #5

Mind your own business: how to defend personal space in a repressive environment?
Society : personal freedoms

LGBTQI+ problematics within a dominant populist scenario

Proposed Speakers:

@SZdenek, @Richard

  • Isidora Jarić & Haris Dajč - The LGBT movement and national sentiments: The politics of ex/in/clusion in the Serbian LGBT community
  • Abortion.eu, Cioccia Vassia

Panel #6

Freedom writ large: A European guide to futures we want
Foresight scenarios and interactive session

Proposed Speakers:
  • Vello Pettai - presentation of the Tartu work - A scenario development exercise

How to Register

The event is free of charge. You register by sending email expressing your interest to ivan@edgeryders.eu

10 posts were split to a new topic: The ecology of Witness, and ecology as an inspiration for economic syste,s

@Jan @Richard as discussed, find the concept idea for our strand of the final impact conference here. Let us know your thoughts and if anything related to the event format should be included in the amendment.

Track 1: How would X work/look like in Distrikt Y (that economic model)

Do you want to discuss this further? Not only in terms of what the conference will look like, but also in terms of the steps we need to take, starting early 2022, in order to make it happen.

Concluding the POPREBEL project Edgeryders work on Task 7.5: Impact conference

What is it?

“A final impact conference, targeting not only academics, but also – and especially – activists, politicians, journalists. Comparing notes, learning from each other, with POPREBEL functioning as a way to find and systematize the existing experiences.”

Format of the event

  1. Presentation of the project’s findings with a following discussion.
  2. Panels/round tables presenting the work packages
  3. A discussion panel with academics, activists, politicians, journalists
  4. Guest Speakers.
  5. The interactive session - a creative process of building plausible models of desirable societies
  6. Presentation: Populism seen through the prism of Semantic Social Network Analysis

Date and Timeline

June 2, 2022

Tasks

  • feedback from @Jan on ethnographers’ findings (Ivan)
  • preparatory interviews with the ethnographers (Ivan)
  • outreach and engagement campaign (@nadia)
  • open call for the immersive materials (Ivan)
  • preparatory workshops for the interactive session and the presentations

Paolo Cirio has agreed to lead one of the panels on the impact conference. Possible dates between 22 May and 3 June.

In a wide array of topics he has covered through his artistic work, things like:

  • Global direct - a reflection on the worldwide democracy as a utopia for the global information society

  • Meaning - as a theory of Internet semiotics about the formation of social meaning online. The study explores the ways the meaning of an information on Internet changes in base of the parametres of context-individual condition-collective condition,

  • Overexposed - a satyre about the era of surveillance and iconisation of political personas. It is a reflection on new modes of circulation, appropriation, contextualization, and technical reproduction of images,

  • Capture - the asymmetry of power behind the facial recognition and AI used by the authorities

  • Sociality - the artwork documents twenty-thousand patents of socially manipulative information technology in the US,

  • A project on Twitter targeting in the US elections 2012 (before it blew skyhigh): the birth of the opinion social bubbles and their extremisation,

There is a project on the importance of the information control - disinformation before the fake news phenomenon. Is a participatory fact-checking mechanism in a system of a truely democratic control of the data possible?

Information, disinformation, misinformation in the times of crises - a line from the antiNATO campaign to today’s disasters.
I have selected those that may be the best fit for POPREBEL, but his work is very rich and perhaps the best thing would be a panel on the points of view of the engaged artist.

Something like Paolo Cirio, art and engagement - Information, disinformation, misinformation, where we introduce his work - videos, an interview, etc. and open a debate on the unsaid about the populism in the media.

Brainstorming needed!

To contextualise/ find the theme for the event - Let’s get back to the mission of the poprebel project as described on the european commission website: CORDIS | European Commission

My hunches for tracks/ themes around which we cluster the points in the program:

  • Arenas where we see these different stories play out/ compete: Covid, War, Climate
  • Role of tech and art in (re)shaping the playing field
  • Other?

Populist rebellion against modernity in 21st-century Eastern Europe: neo-traditionalism and neo-feudalism

POPREBEL is an inter-disciplinary consortium of researchers focused on explaining and contextualising the recent rise of populism in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While populism is a phenomenon that has by now emerged in almost every democracy, we believe that regional and cultural-historical dimensions need to be considered in order to improve not only scholarly knowledge, but also policy recommendations. It is urgent for Western Europeans to look into the CEE mirror, just as it is urgent for the CEE region to understand itself.

To this end, we will create a typology of populism’s various manifestations, reconstruct trajectories of its growth and decline, investigate its causes, interpret its meanings, diagnose its consequences, and propose policy solutions.

Our focus is on CEE, but we engage in comparisons with populisms elsewhere, particularly Western Europe. While scholars from different disciplines have looked at populism, we argue that the full potential of interdisciplinary research has not been achieved yet. We draw on data and models from various disciplines and combine them into a rich study of forces at play. In addition to established methods of economics, sociology, and cultural studies, at the heart of our approach is a novel methodology whose essence is a large-scale, Europe-wide, multi-lingual online conversation. This is a listening exercise; its aim is a deep understanding of everyday life in Europe challenged by the rise of populism. The method to process this unique ethnographic material is semantic social network analysis.

POPREBEL relies on foresight/future studies, deep involvement with activists, policy makers, and civil society actors to boost the immune system of European democracy. We develop scenarios and share them with all interested parties to reflect, in public debate, on how well they fit both in the CEE region and the rest of Europe. Our focus is not just scholarly; the project serves as a platform for mutual learning.

WP 6 - Foresight scenarios presentation

The task of the work package was the development of the foresight dimension for the POPREBEL programme. The major load was done by the Tartu University with minor contributions from the Budapest University.

We agreed with Vello on two possible options:

DEFAULT

  • a 20 min presentation of the Tartu work - the methodology and/or the scenarios
  • a debate

to define:

  • Vello - the content (presentation of one scenario, all of them, the building mechanisms etc.)
  • ER the documentation (a report from the session)

OPTIMISTIC

Vello will evaluate if it is possible for him to organise the engagement seminars before the conference in which case the outcomes could be presented during the WP6 session.

WP1 Key concepts & WP5 Economy

main partners - Uniwersytet Jagiellonsky (UJ), Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem (CUB)

WP1

The WP’s main objective was to define and theorise neo-feudalism and neo-traditionalism, studying the reasons of their emergence and functions in Central and Eastern Europe and posing a general theoretical framework within which other cases can be interpreted. The key
source was examined from two perspectives – the economic and the socio-cultural.

Uniwersytet Jagiellonski coordinated the WP (still need to hear from them).
Istvan Kollai (CUB) worked on conceptualising the neo-feudalism and will present his work. Waiting to see the possible framing which could provide an impact (inspirational) dimension.

WP5

Corvinus University in Budapest worked specifically on the socio-economic dimension in the key of political economy, studying the socio-economic roots and policy consequences of populism.

The CUB will prepare 3-4 reflections on the effects of the unemployment, inflation immigration in southeastern Europe to be presented in a panel with enough time for discussion.
Guests - politicians, journalists etc.
Goal - deliver the guidelines/orientational framework for a practical, policy making impact.

Timeline: title and themes by 18 March, then the formatting of the panel, possible guests and discussion
To define - live floor, prerecorded presentations, which guests

@jitka.kralova and I had our chat already. We agreed that by 30/3 she (and ideally all other ethnographers) would send us

  1. a burning question or theme that they would like to make sense of during the event to help us define a relevant event program

  2. a draft/ skeleton for a 7 minute presentation of their work/ findigns

1 Like

After a meeting with @Jan and @Richard this Monday, we have added some more structure to the shape of the impact conference.
The general frame of the project aims to be more than an academic exercise.
The key thing behind the engagement withe the activists and the policymakers is that the whole project looks at the populist phenomenon in a more comprehensive way (as indeed it does).

The MVP is the impact conference as a mosaic picture: a multifaceted body of work (which is the major difference from the other projects), should be presented not as a sum but as a collection.

  • important to have all the partners present
  • focus on multisectoriality and avoid the disciplinary siloses, thus:
    • combine the WPs in common panels rather than running parallel sessions
    • (maybe) produce strange combinations & unusual pairings (in particular for WP4)
    • produce quality presentations and visuals, not only a lecture but charts and pictures, etc. - (define the necessary budget)

By the beginning of April, Jan and Richard will prepare a set of possible topics and combinations as well as a list of requests.

First ideas:

  • the conceptual WP can be split - combining neofeudalism with Economy and neo-traditionalism with Politics/Culture**

Introduction and WP1

  • @Richard delivers a prerecorded intervention (finetuning the Brussels presentation)
  • Istvan Kollai (CUB) on the concept of neo-feudalism (combine with WP5?)
  • need to find a proper format

WP2 - Participatory online conversation

  • ER: Semantic Social Network Analysis - a presentation on the structure of how people think and how the ideas connect in their heads combined with
  • Jitka’s work (plus the work of other ethnographers)
  • a panel with Paolo Cirio on art and engagement
  • an interactive session possibly with the participation of all the patners - define the shape

WP3 Culture

  • almost all the partners worked on this one, @Jan and @Richard select the topics
  • combine with WP4? on some of the original aspects - history and the historical take on the phenomenon - check with Belgrade, perhaps introduce also externals (like Dubravka Stojanović - @Jan?)

WP4 - Politics

Focus on the political parties
possibilites:

  • Vassilis Petsinis comparison of the situation in former Yugoslavia and in the Baltic states coud give a broader appeal
  • combine Sean Hanley’s work on the Central EU together with Piret Ehin - example comparison between the right wing populist parties (Sean) vs left wing populism (Piret)

WP5 Economy

The original things that might come out of this one - example: how the populist economic policies develop over time when the right wing populist parties come to power

The CUB 3-4 reflections on unemployment, inflation, immigration in E/Sn Europe
format: round table with politicians, journalists etc. as guests
Goal: deliver the guidelines/orientational framework for a practical, policy making impact

  • involve also István Benczes

Actual topics:
Krisztina SZABÓ:

Local economic voting, perception and voters’ attitude: Evidence from Hungarian survey and local economic data.

András TÉTÉNYI:
Exogenous shocks and voter behaviour in Central and Eastern Europe

WP 6 - Foresight scenarios presentation

as above:

  • a presentation of the Tartu work - the methodology and/or the scenarios with a debate
    or
  • presenation of the outcomes of the engagement seminars

CONCLUSIONS of the conference

@Jan TBD

(will transform this into a wiki as the concrete contributions start to arrive)

2 Likes

Thanks for the update @ivan… does this mean we should send over the 7 min presentation and burning questions based on our fieldwork data or would it be something else now ?

Hi Jitka, no change there for now - the idea is to embed your presentations in the WP2 part. I’ll give you more details (or other possible requrements) as soon as I have them.

You mean “multidisciplinary”?

I was quoting Jan :slight_smile:, but that is the idea

Ok, following up on today’s meeting with @nadia and @ivan:

Date: We reschedule to September, nail a date and write it in stone.

Concept: The Great Pushback: the ground reality of European populism. Or something that:

  • Emphasizes and acknowledges the point of view of people with boots on the ground
  • Winks to the Polanyian idea of reaction and counterreaction underpinning much of POPREBEL.

Sessions are: moderated panel discussions + Q&A. Each panel consists of at least one POPREBEL academic + at least one representative of “the ground” (activist, business person, artist, etc.).

Six sessions:

  1. Keynote: an artist’s point of view with Paolo Cirio.
  2. Culture: Art as resistance (paper). With @MariaAlinaAsavei, Paolo, maybe Daniel Vaarik?
  3. Economy: Business strategies in a politicized economy (paper. With István Kollai and ?)
  4. Politics: maybe a discussion on what is being tried to counteract the rise of populism in CEE. We have a paper here that could be discussed with people on the ground (anyone from Volt maybe?). Lead author here is Piret Ehin. Who else on society’s side?
  5. Society. ?? Maybe something on data and transparency? LGBT issues?
  6. Futures. This could be more interactive, like in Nadia’s idea. With Vello Pettai on the POPREBEL side. Who else on society’s side?

End keynote: Jan on The Great Pushback (Polanyian perspective etc,).

In general, the process to design sessions is like this:

  1. Look for inspiration in the working papers and the presentations. This will give you a framing and one or two academic authors.
  2. Involve those authors to refine the concept and make sure they are onboard.
  3. Pair the academic author with at least one counterpart.
  4. “Pad” the panel with maybe a third person that brings an interesting point of view, and a moderator (these two could be the same).

Pay attention to:

  • Communication
  • Scheduling (for academics to be able to attend each other’s panels).
  • Call management/security to prevent trolling etc.

Works for everyone?

POPREBEL Impact conference - EVENT PLAN

THEME: Attacks on freedom in Europe, and what to do about it.

DATE: TBD - working dates 28-30 September - one or two days

FORMAT: ONLINE

  • a series of panels in form of the Zoom sessions
  • each panel consists of 3-4 speakers, at least one of them is non-academic
  • sessions run for a maximum of 90 minutes, with 15 minutes breaks

Keynote + reflections on the keynote

Paolo Cirio, @Jan - to be scheduled and organised

PANELS

Opening Panel

Hold the Line: A conversation between civil society and defence on resistance in the face of attacks on freedom

Keywords: Preparedness, Response, Recovery
Proposed invitees:

Panel #1

How to win an election when the economy is struggling?
Voting behaviour in a situation of economic decline

Speakers:
CUB to choose between:
Krisztina SZABÓ: - Local economic voting, perception and voters’ attitude: Evidence from Hungarian survey and local economic data.
András TÉTÉNYI: - Exogenous shocks and voter behaviour in Central and Eastern Europe

  • from the ethnographer’s point:

Jitka Kralova - the effects of the COVID pandemic bringing on stage marginal voices and anti-liberal discourses, intertwined with populist rhetoric

Guest participants - VOLT / tbd

Panel #2

How to dress like an authoritarian: populist characters in search of an author
Populist solutions in different situations
tbc
Sean Hanley and Piret Ehin: Left wing populism vs right wing populism

possible contribuitons tbc:

Vassilis Petsinis - Baltic States vs ex-Yugoslavia in the post transition period

  • from the ethnographer’s point:

Magdalena Goralska - Poland and the role of social media in shaping polarizing narratives online - are the debates still possible?

Panel #3

How to run a business in a politically challenging environment?
Neofeudalism: the invisible yoke on the economic freedom

Istvan Kollai on the concept of neo-feudalism
possible contributors:

Peter Arvai - PREZI
Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä

Panel #4

How to build an anti-authoritarian culture?
Resistance through art

Maria Asavei (Charles University)- Strategies of Resistance through Art to Right-Wing Populism in East-Central Europe: Archives and Fake Political Parties

Maria Asavei, @Jirka_Kocian - [Theatre as resistance to right-wing populism in Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary]

possible contributors:

Paolo Cirio, Dada Art collective, Beatrice Ramos, Daniel Vaarik

Panel #5

Mind your own business: how to defend personal space in a repressive environment?
Society : personal freedoms

LGBTQI+ problematics within a dominant populist scenario

possible contributors:
@SZdenek, @Richard
Isidora Jarić & Haris Dajč - The LGBT movement and national sentiments: The politics of ex/in/clusion in the Serbian LGBT community
Abortion.eu
Cioccia Vassia

Panel #6

Freedom writ large: The anarchist’s guide to futures we want
Foresight scenarios and interactive session

Vello Pettai - presentation of the Tartu work
A scenario development exercise

Panel #7

Hold the Line: A conversation between civil society and defence on resistance in the face of attacks on freedom

Securitisation, Leadership
possible guests: Erica Chenoweth

1 Like

Many thanks. Looks terrific. The new Panel 7 may serve as an opener for the event. Let’s talk more about it. The first idea I have is this: civil society actors are ideologically diverse, ranging from the far left to the far right. Their take on the issues of security and defense will vary dramatically. Some “territorial defense” groups in Europe are like far right militias in the US. Very ideological. On the other hand we have groups that are genuinely interested in security of their societies, families, neighborhoods, etc. I would also pay attention to the gender dimension of this mobilization.

3 Likes

ping @trythis - up for speaking/inviting people we know to this?

1 Like