The course focuses on European political ideas in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from the angle of reconstructing various discourses of social, cultural and political crisis linked to political mobility, placing all this in a broader framework of the history of modern political thought. It offers both an overview of original excerpts from various contexts, making it possible to analyze and compare ‘in depth’ various ideological traditions, as well as paradigmatic interpretative texts. Along these lines, the course hopes to rethink key notions and problems of political modernity such as the relationship of “critique” and “crisis,” “state of emergency,” “corporatism,” populism, “neo-liberalism” and also use a comparative approach to problematize some of the key tenets of the ‘national’ historiographies about the uniqueness and incomparability of their respective trajectories (“special paths”). The course also seeks to familiarize students with relevant debates in the subfields of the history of economic thought, historical sociology, and cultural history.
On the whole, the goal of the course is to use the perspective of analysis of “crisis discourses” to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the various ideological manifestations of political modernity. Bringing together the more encompassing models of interpretation with a context-sensitive approach of situating the texts in their cultural-political setting, the participants will develop their skills of doing comparative research in the history of political ideas based on textual and contextual analysis. Apart from providing a methodological awareness of comparative intellectual history, the main expected result of the course is providing an overview of European political ideas from the interwar period until the early 21st century. The primary and secondary literature are selected to provide representative case studies for comparative purposes.