Keynote Address: Normative Orders in Crisis – Conditions of Democratic Solidarity within the Capitalist World System

Crisis: Interdisciplinary Perspectives - 9th International Annual Conference

Thursday, November 23rd 2017, 5 pm - 6.30 pm

It is a truism that modern capitalism at once is the most productive and the most destructive economic system ever. To stay alive, capitalism needs as much state-intervention as socialism. The capitalist state can fulfil this function only as a self-interested agency that has constitutive and corrective functions also for non-capitalist spheres of life. Moreover, in a long course of social struggles, revolutions and civil wars, the capitalist state was forced to become democratic and to integrate two incompatible principles: capitalism and  democracy. The incompatibility was moderated after World War II by democracy with socialist characteristics. However, the democratic and social state has suffered from two problems: secular stagnation and horizontal inequality. Democracy with socialist characteristics was white, male, and heterosexual. Fighting horizontal inequality, the New Left triggered one of the most consequential cultural revolutions of world history. However, at the same time aggressive neoliberalism, politically and theoretically well prepared, took its chance and changed the direction of the evolution against democracy and socialism. The last 40 years witnessed a dramatic increase of social class differences and a transnationally enhanced threefold U-turn of constitutionalism from public power to private property, from public law to private law, and from legal formalism to legal dynamism. The outcome was a vicious circle of injustice: the permanent devaluation of political and personal rights through social injustice that blocks all possibilities of democratic change of social and political injustice. The world economic crisis of 2008 reinforced the circular downfall, consumed the scare resources of solidarity, and caused a legitimation crisis of normative orders. Technocratic incrementalism apparently comes to an end, but what comes then?

Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)

Hauke Brunkhorst is Senior-Professor at the Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany. 1996-2015 Professor of Sociology Europa-Universität Flensburg. 2009-2010 Theodor Heuss Professor New School for Social Research, New York. Studies in German literature, philosophy, biology, education and sociology in Kiel, Freiburg and Frankfurt. Since 1979 Visiting Professorships for Sociology and Philosophy at Universities of Kassel, Osnabrück, Mainz, Berlin (FU), Frankfurt, Vienna, Aarhus, Duisburg. Research Fellowships at Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna (1985), Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (1994-1996), Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris (2005). Marie-Curie Seminar on Security and Citizenship in Europe at University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Clough Lecture on European Constitutionalism 2013. Europa Preis of European University 2017. Books: Solidarität. Von der Bürgerfreundschaft zur globalen Rechtsgenossenschaft, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp (stw) 2002 (English MIT Press 2005); Karl Marx: Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte – Kommentar, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 2007; Legitimationskrisen. Verfassungsprobleme der Weltgesellschaft, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2012; Kritik und Kritische Theorie. Programme, Personen, Positionen, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2014; Das doppelte Gesicht Europas - Zwischen Kapitalismus und Demokratie, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 2014; Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions – Evolutionary Perspectives, New York/ London: Bloomsbury 2014.

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Campus Westend
Max-Horkheimer-Str. 2
Gebäude "Normative Ordnungen", EG 01 und EG 02

Zum Nachbericht von Dr. Tatjana Sheplyakova: Hier...





  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Menke, Professor für Philosophie der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main und Principal Investigator des Exzellenzcluster „Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen“
  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst, Co-Sprecher des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Politische Theorie und Philosophie der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


Event report: Click here...

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