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This conversation will focus the prospects of democracy in the context of current crisis characterised by waves of populist backlash; extremist attacks; the Capitol building imperiled; ever-worsening economic inequality; the insidious erosion of privacy; the epistemic collapse of the public sphere; the rise of a new form of techno-authoritarianism, ready for export. These crises are compounded by the practical challenges of averting climate collapse and ending a pandemic skillfully adapting to our best attempts at control. At stake are not only the institutional structures of democratic governance but the cultural structures which lend meaning and collective motivation to democratic self-governance. In this conversation with one of the world’s leading sociological theorists, we explore the cultural dimensions of crisis and the sources and prospects for democratic resilience.


Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University and Founder and, with Philip Smith, Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology. Jeffrey Alexander works in the areas of theory, culture, and democratic politics. A leading exponent of the “strong program” in cultural sociology, he has investigated the cultural codes and narratives that inform diverse areas of social life. His recent work has tackled question of crisis, radicalism, and solidarity in democratic politics in the United States and beyond.

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