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Alen Toplišek - Redefining 'the Political' in the Light of the Crisis of Liberal Democracy

 Alen Toplišek - Redefining 'the Political' in the Light of the Crisis of Liberal Democracy

Alen Toplišek, PhD Candidate
Primary Supervisor, Dr Lasse Thomassen

I completed my BA in International Relations at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. I then moved to the UK to pursue an LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights at the University of Warwick. During my Master's course, it became clear to me that I wanted to delve deeper into contemporary political theory and continental philosophy, so I decided to continue my studies at Queen Mary.

My research engages with various conventional and alternative understandings of politics with the aim of uncovering their underlying rationality and the ideological purposes they serve. In the current crisis of the liberal democratic-capitalist system, it seems like an appropriate moment to throw some theoretical light on what politics is really about and what the significance of 'the political' is in antagonistic societies. Looking both at the constructive/positive and the destructive/negative of politics, I want to propose an alternative conception of the political that will help us understand better the normality of ordinary politics, as well as the potentiality and opening up of possibilities for radical changes and interventions into that normality of things.

Through poststructuralist and post-Marxian interpretation of (un)events, whether it is the London riots of 2011, the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa or the anti-austerity protest movements in Europe, we suddenly realize we live in times of critical ruptures appearing in the normal order of the existing matrix of power relations.  What inspires me, and at the same time continues to perplex me, is the contingency and the unpredictability that permeate these inherently political happenings. Moreover, how should one understand the question of violence in such resistances against the dominant “consensus” and power structures? Or passivity and indifference in face of the normalizing/naturalizing social injustices in the current politico-economic order?

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