The Affective Logic of Populism: Trust, Distrust, and the Productivity of Conflict

ConTrust International Workshop, AG 5

2 and 3 December 2022

Hosted by Pavan Malreddy and Johannes Voelz

This conference assembles leading international scholars with expertise in political emotions and affects. Coming from a broad range of disciplines, including cultural geography, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, discourse studies, and political science, the speakers will explore the affective dimensions of the constellations of trust and distrust at work in contemporary populism and authoritarianism. Starting from the premise that populism and authoritarianism share global family resemblances that have to be contextualized with regional and historical specificity, the conference facilitates a debate between perspectives from the Global South and North.

Conceptually, we start from the premise that populist and authoritarian formations are held together by the interplay of organized internal trust and external distrust. We will explore the hypothesis that this interplay operates according to identifiable affective logics. Internally, trust is demanded and enforced through appeals to loyalty and solidarity, but trust is also generated through affective experiences ranging from ressentiment and rage to enthusiasm and love. These affects of internal trust are mobilized in conjunction with affects of distrust along friend/enemy lines. While the constellation of internal trust and external distrust has been explored from a range of scholarly perspectives, our conference contributes to a more detailed analysis of the range of affects at play as well as their internal logic. From this starting point, we also hope to be able to shed light on those ranges of affect that do not seem to fit neatly into the schema of internal trust/external distrust. Experiences such as apathy, boredom, and the simultaneous experience of joy and fear also belong to the affective repertoires of populism and authoritarianism, yet how they relate to the more widely discussed features of the populist and authoritarian experience so far has remained largely unexplained.

Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften
Am Wingertsberg 4
61348 Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe

Program (pdf): Click here…

Further information and registration: Here...


Friday, 2 December 2022

Conference Opening
Initial input by Pavan Malreddy (Goethe-University Frankfurt, ConTrust) and Johannes Voelz (Goethe-University Frankfurt, ConTrust)


Ben Anderson (Professor of Geography, Durham, UK)

Vera King and Ferdinand Sutterlüty (Sigmund Freud-Institut Frankfurt, Goethe-University Frankfurt, ConTrust / Institut für Sozialforschung)

Ricardo Pagliuso Regatieri (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil)

Ruth Wodak (Em. Professor Dr DDr h.c., FAcSS, Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies, Lancaster University/University Vienna)

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Pierre Ostiguy (Professor, Instituto de Ciencia Politica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

10. 00-11.00
Shalini Randeria (Rector, Central European University, Vienna)

Ulrike Flader (Institut für Ethnologie und Kulturwissenschaft (IfEK), Postdoc in Bremen Excellence, Chair group „Soft Authoritarianisms“)

Ajay Gudavarthi (Professor of Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dehli)



Presented by:
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften der Goethe-Universität und „ConTrust. Vertrauen im Konflikt. Politisches Zusammenleben unter Bedingungen der Ungewissheit“ – ein Clusterprojekt des Landes Hessen am Forschungsverbund „Normative Ordnungen“ der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


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