Fragile Democracy: Technocratic Takeover and Popular Renewal

Mar 20, 2021
Back to Events

Charles TaylorMcGill University

Patrizia NanzGerman Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management

Jason BlakelyPepperdine University/Nova Forum

Fr. Patrick Gilger, S.J.New School for Social Research

This event is co-presented with the Nova Forum and co-sponsored by America Media, the Collegium Institute, the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies.

We are experiencing a crisis of democracy more powerful than anything seen in a generation: inequality continues at a galloping pace; policing is increasingly racialized and militarized; political decision-making appears remote and divorced from the lives of ordinary people.

This panel discussion—including renowned philosopher Charles Taylor--will consider sources and solutions to the present crisis of democracy by drawing on two recent books: Reconstructing Democracy by Charles Taylor, Patrizia Nanz, and Madeleine Beaubien Taylor and We Built Reality by Jason Blakely. 

Both works identify within our political and cultural crisis the loss of democratic participation and the rise of top-down technocratic, managerial rule.

Charles Taylor is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at McGill University. Although his work has covered a great breadth of subjects, he is perhaps best known for his contributions to political and moral theory. Among his many authored books are A Secular Age (2007), Sources of the Self: the Making of the Modern Identity (1989), and The Ethics of Authenticity (1991). He has received a litany of awards and recognitions for his body of work, including the Ratzinger Prize (2019), the Berggruen Prize (2016), the Kluge Prize (2015), the Kyoto Prize (2008), and the Templeton Prize (2007).

Patrizia Nanz is Vice President of the German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management, professor at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Potsdam and Director of the German-French Forum for the Future. From 2016 until 2021, she was Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany. Previously, she was professor for political theory at the University of Bremen. In her work, she is exploring the future of democracy, especially the challenges connected to open government, public administration and citizen participation. 

Image Copyright: Maurice Weiss / Ostkreuz

Jason Blakely is an associate professor of political science at Pepperdine University and a Senior Fellow at the Nova Forum for Catholic Thought. His expertise is in political philosophy and hermeneutics. He is the author of We Built Reality: How Social Science Infiltrated CulturePolitics, and Power (Oxford, 2020) and Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism (Notre Dame, 2016). He also co-authored Interpretive Social Science (Oxford, 2018) with Mark Bevir. Blakely's work has also appeared in top scholarly journals as well as popular venues like the Atlantic and Commonweal.

Fr. Patrick Gilger, S.J. is completing his doctorate at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He will join the sociology faculty at Loyola University Chicago this coming fall, and is contributing editor for culture at America Media.