Frequently, the political right and left are denounced indiscriminately for their extremist political positions; however, the extremism of the centre oftentimes remains unquestioned: Centrist positions are represented as the ‘norm’ of a stable society. It is the deviation from this ‘norm’ that is imagined as equal to chaos, as generating potential instability. We call for papers to join a panel on views of and positions advocated by the ‘centre’. These positions include, for example, politics of stability, conservatism and cultural continuity, the aversion towards balance deficits, the reliance on privatisation, and other forms of neoliberal practices. In particular, we are also interested in extremist positions of the centre that postulate the notion that there is no alternative to the status quo.
Similarly, centrist positions are normalised and reinforced through mainstream culture. The entanglement of established politics, media and culture ensures continuity, while also subverting fundamental criticism and keeping positions deliberately vague. In this context, we are also interested in papers that analyse how cultural, societal and political actors reinforce and perpetuate notions of centrism as the ‘normal’ as well as in sociopolitical aspirations to ‘normalise’ society by drawing it to the centre.
Finally, we are interested in how the current ‘vagueness’ of political positions in societies oriented to the political centre has generated support for right-wing or left-wing parties among disappointed voters as well as how the former opposition tends to normalise towards the new centre. On the other hand, we also invite papers that focus on ways in which centrist positions as such play into, reinforce and perpetuate extremist politics on the fringes.
This is a call for papers for a panel on the Extremism of Centrist Politics which will be submitted to the IPSA Conference “Diversity and Democratic Governance: Legacies of the Past, Present Challenges, and Future Directions?” (University of Sarajevo, 12–15 June 2019). We invite papers from young and established researchers from different disciplines (e.g. cultural studies, history, political sciences, sociology, philosophy, economics, ethnology, cultural anthropology, etc.). Proposals for papers should include contact details of the author(s), title and an abstract of no more than 200 words.
The deadline for submission is 20 December 2018, as the general deadline for paper proposals at the conference is 31 December 2018. The results of the selection will be communicated by the end of January.
For more information on the IPSA Conference, visit: https://sites.google.com/view/ipsarc14/events/sarajevo-2019.
All correspondence, including your proposals and questions, should be directed at Vanessa Tautter (email@example.com) or Lennart Oschgan (firstname.lastname@example.org).