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TLI Signature Lecture: Katrin Kinzelbach - Authoritarianism in Global Ascendance?

K0.20, King's Building, Strand Campus
16/10/2017 (18:00-20:00)
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TLI Signature Lectures 2017-2018

Democratic Politics in Global Crisis? Challenges, Approaches, Resistances

Speaker: Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach (Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi))

Title: Authoritarianism in Global Ascendance?


The increasingly widespread notion that democracy is in crisis coincides not only with authoritarian backlash at country-level, but also with a global power shift that challenges the influence of democratic nations in global and regional institutions. This lecture will discuss the notions of democratic crisis and authoritarian rise by focusing on three questions, namely: Is there a global authoritarian backlash against democracy? Can authoritarian states use regional and international institutions for anti-democratic purposes? And, last but not least: Who benefits from the notion that democracy is in trouble around the world?


The election of Trump in the USA, the Brexit vote in the UK, the rise of extremist parties in France, Holland and elsewhere, impeachments (successful and failed) of presidents in South Korea, Brazil and South Africa following corruption scandals, authoritarian turns in Hungary, Poland and Russia… Wherever one turns to, there are worrying signs that democracy, or at least democratic politics, is in trouble around the world.

This is further corroborated by lower election turn out and repudiation of mainstream political parties and politicians, symptoms of a generalized sentiment of political disenchantment that leads to political disengagement.

How deep is this crisis? What are its causes? How can it be solved?

These are the themes and questions we will be debating in our Transnational Law Institute Signature Lectures, now in its third year, with experts from around the world. The lectures are organized around four broad sub-topics: Democracy and extremism; Democracy and inequality; Democracy and corruption and Democracy and authoritarianism.

The Signature Lectures are delivered by world renowned scholars whose work tackles central challenges in global governance by cutting across disciplinary boundaries to develop new analytical and conceptual frameworks, which address today’s pressing problems of transnational legality and legitimacy with rigour and fresh eyes. Previous speakers included: Saskia Sassen, Albie Sachs, Sally Engle Merry, Wolfgang Streeck, Joseph Weiler, Eve Darian-Smith, Guy Standing, Upendra Baxi and Boaventura Sousa Santos.

All Signature Lectures are followed by a reception. 


Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach is Associate Director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin. She also teaches at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and serves on the German Government’s Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention. Prior to joining GPPi in 2011, Katrin worked at the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights. During this time, she completed a PhD at the University of Vienna on European human rights diplomacy vis-à-vis China. For her dissertation she won the German Study Prize which honors outstanding PhD research of particular value to society. From 2001 to 2007, Katrin was a staff member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She is an alumna of King’s College London, where she graduated with the MA International Peace and Security.

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