CEFC Conference - Western Democracy: The End of the Golden Age?
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Room 3301 (Lift 2 or Lifts 17-18), 3/F Academic Building

During a couple of decades following World War II, the Western political system was stable and had a strong legitimacy. It had three pillars: a competitive party system based on free elections and mass political parties, the rule of law, and efficient meritocratic states with strong capabilities. This system had remained an exclusive club, but after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, it seemed to constitute a model also valid for the rest of the world. In the 2020’, the situation has radically changed. With a few exceptions (Taiwan, South Korea, etc.), its extension to the Global South has been a failure, and it is under threat in the Global North. Several factors contribute to this situation. Free competitive party elections do not seem able anymore to ensure a real “elective aristocracy”, to quote the famous notion coined by Rousseau. Mass political parties have nearly disappeared and are unable to represent a credible channel between citizens and rulers, when right-wing populism is on the rise. Globalization and the “provincialization” of the Global North in the world division of labor has strongly reduced state capacities, especially in Europe. New challenges, such as the global warming, seem difficult to face with the short-termism that characterizes elections. New cultural topics linked to race or gender contribute to sharpen political polarization. The same can be said of international migrations, as the exclusive club appears to be besieged. Far-right national-populists are on the rise. In this situation, what are the political innovations actually discussed or experienced that could provide solutions to the crisis? What are the potential scenarios for the next future?

Room 3301 (Lift 2 or Lifts 17-18), 3/F Academic Building
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Yves Sintomer is professor of political science, co-director of the master in political science and member of the president’s board at Paris 8 University. He is Honorary Senior fellow at the French University Institute, one of the French most prestigious institutions, has a honorary degree (doctorat honoris causa), Liège University (Belgium), and is Associate member at Nuffield College, Oxford, Neuchâtel University (Switzerland) and Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has been invited scholar or professor at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, University College London, Tsinghua University and Peking University, Science Po Paris, Frankfurt University and Berlin Humboldt University, and Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). His most recent book is The Government of Chance. Sortition and Democracy from Athens to the Present, Cambridge University Press, 2023 (translation Peking University Press 2024). He has written on participatory and deliberative democracy, political representation, and German and French sociology. His writings have been published in 20 languages.

Event Registration: https://www.cefc.com.hk/event/western-democracy-the-end-of-the-golden-age/

Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Yves Sintomer
Professor of Political Science, Paris 8 University
Division of Social Science
The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC)