Politics and Ideology (2011)

The Engelsberg Seminar 2011

June 9th–11th 2011 at Avesta Manor, Sweden

Where are we heading in the global political landscape? Will old ideologies disappear, fade away or be reborn, and if the former is the case, what will the new ideological landscape look like and how will it affect the conditions of political life? The death of ideology has been predicted repeatedly over the years, but time and time again we have also seen old ideologies return under new covers. Most of the major political parties in the Western world have, in recent times, moved towards the centre, motivated by the idea of universal welfare, and in our global era all Western states embrace the idea of the welfare society. In a country like Sweden, some on the Left see the adjustments of the Social Democratic party as treason or an adaptation to “neo-liberalism”, blaming the decline of the party on its drift towards the “right”. Meanwhile, in the conservative and liberal parties, critics rail against the adjustment to the left in their own parties. Nevertheless, the centre-right-wing alliance in Sweden has won two elections in a row with this policy. Do these developments signal a general international trend, where the old struggle between labour and capital has fi nally been settled in a universally embraced welfare ideology, and classical social democratic components are spiced up with a dose of life-style liberalism? All over Europe, parties characterized as national “welfare huggers” are being set up. That includes the Sweden Democrats, a party diffi cult to pinpoint on the left/right scale, and whose sympathizers are often members of the labour union. Not everyone, however, sees “the end of history” in the form of the welfare state. Irrational exuberance of course also applies to careless politicians who have allowed citizens to overconsume, as in Britain and Greece. Some have also begun to question the sustainability of the welfare state as such, asking how deep the cuts in the welfare systems will be in the developed world. In some ways the “sacred cow” of universal welfare already has suffered its fi rst serious blow; families with an income over £40,000 in the UK will no longer receive child care benefi ts from the state. And last but not least: some ask whether the national welfare state in the long run is compatible with liberal ideals such as free immigration. In this conference we will address the present but also the past. We will highlight some of the historical political ideas and systems which impact on the present. We also look at authoritarian state capitalism, as in the case of China, asking if it is sustainable. And if it is, how will it infl uence the world? Will it become the exemplary model, just as liberal democracy has been for a long time to many peoples and nations? Will Islamism, xenophobic and anti-immigrant parties and other movements on the fringes of the political and ideological spectrum in Europe, US and the islamic world, strengthen the existing order of things, or undermine confi dence in them? And what are the long term consequences of the recent developments in the Arab world – liberal democracy or democracy bringing Islamism to power? Has globalization meant that politics has taken a quantum leap, so that the ideologies from the 18th and 19th century – Communism, conservatism, social democracy and liberalism – are no longer relevant as expressions of the class interests that characterized the modern era? In the fi nal analysis, what are the implications of globalization for politics and ideology? Will a world parliament, a worldwide green movement, or various movements with religion as the common denominator be the answer? Or will we perhaps instead see the return of another old phantom: Nationalism?


Precursors: Politics and Ideology

Richard Miles
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Sydney
Lecture: Politics & Ideology in the Ancient World

Dick Harrison
Professor, Lund University
Lecture: Politics Before the French Revolution

Kenneth Minogue
Emeritus Professor of Government, LSE
Lecture: Ideology Versus Politics in History


The Emergence of Ideologies

Michael Bentley
Professor, University of St Andrews
Lecture: British Ideologies: Separation and Fusion

Richard Evans
Regius Professor of History and Professor of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
Lecture: German Ideologies

John Keane
Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum
Lecture: Ideology of Democracy

Michael Freeden
Professor of Politics. Initiator and first director, Centre for Political Ideologies, University of Oxford. Professorial Fellow at Mansfield College 
Lecture: Ideology: From Temporal Contingency to Political Ubiquity


Ideologies of Today

Vernon Bogdanor
Research Professor, Institute of Contemporary History, King’s College
Lecture: On the Journey of British Liberalism

Nicholas Boles
Parliamentary Private Secretary, Political Fellow, Institute for Government
Lecture: Role of Ideology in Modern Conservatism

Ulrike Ackermann
Professor and Head of the John Stuart Mill Institute for Research on Freedom
Lecture: Eco-Egalitarianism

John Lloyd
Contributing Editor to the Financial Times. Director of the Axess Programme on Journalism and Democracy. Director of Journalism, Reuters Institute
Lecture: Strains in the Centre-Left


Welfarism and Liberal states

Per Schlingmann
State Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office
Lecture: Swedish Welfare: A Moderate Future

Robert Shapiro
Chairman of Sonecon. Member of the Board, Ax:son Johnson Foundation
Lecture: America and the Reluctant Welfare State

James Bartholomew
Journalist and Author
Lecture: The Welfare State as Drug Addiction

Stephan Eisel
Member of the Editorial Board of Die Politische Meinung
Lecture: Social Market Economy: An alternative


Authoritarian Capitalism: China

Minxin Pei
Professor and Director, Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, Claremont McKenna College
Lecture: Strains in Authoritarian Capitalist Regimes

Mark Leonard
Co-Founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations
Lecture: China’s Intellectual Emancipation

Johan Lagerkvist
Senior Research Fellow, Swedish Institute of International Affairs
Lecture: Uneasy Coexistence: Social Media and China’s Authoritarian Capitalism

Robert Kaplan
Author and Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington
Lecture: Is Authoritarian Capitalism an Ideology?


Religion and Politics

Scott Atran
Research Director, National Center for Scientifi c Research, France. Visiting Professor, University of Michigan
Lecture: The Science of the Sacred

Malise Ruthven
Lecture: Religion, Ideology, Identity

Paul Berman
Lecture: Religion and Intolerance


On Environmentalism

Maria Wetterstrand
Former Spokes Person Green Party, Swedish Parliament
Lecture: The Greens in Between

Roger Scruton
Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Gall, Oxford. Visiting Research Professor, University of St Andrews
Lecture: Mass Movements and Local Loyalties


On the Implications of Unrest in the Middle East

Anna Jardfeldt
Director, Swedish Institute of International Affairs
Lecture: Challenges to Overcome

Hisham Melhem
Washington Bureau Chief, Al-Arabyia
Lecture: Arab Springs: The Promise and the Perils

Nathan Shachar
Foreign Correspondent, Dagens Nyheter. Member of the Editorial Board, Axess Magazine
Lecture: Western Influences on Arab Ideologies


So What Next?

David Frum
Editor, FrumForum.com
Lecture: Will America Turn Hard Right?

Robert Cooper
Councellor in the European External Action Service (EEAS)
Lecture: A World Without Ideologies?

Oliver Kamm
Leader writer, The Times
Lecture: Tranquillity of Spirit: the Future of Liberalism

Watch interviews held with the speakers throughout the seminar