In 1992 “The Times Literary Supplement” provoked a heated debate in intellectual Europe after running a serial of articles discussing “What is Left?” and “What is Right?”. The discussion was soon forgotten but the issue remained opened. Most of the participants agreed that the end of the Cold war buried the historical project of the Left and the historical enemy of the Right but there was no consensus about what it meant for democratic politics.
Now 13 years after the TLS debate the questions “What is Left?” and “What is Right?” are back. The third way leftism is in crisis in many West European countries. The traditional conservative centre right is challenged by the rise of new political actors capitalizing on anti-immigration fears of the publics. Central Europe is torn by populism and the rise of democratic illiberalism. The politics of Sarkozy in France and the desperate efforts of the left in Italy or Greece to re-invent themselves are symptomatic for the emergence of “fourth way in European politics”.
But what are the new ideas that will shape left and right in Europe and who are the new social actors to spell them out?
Program of the Conference (~126 KB)
Period: 19 September 2008 - 21 September 2008