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Critical and Cultural Studies Program Public Lecture

Disavowing Liberalism

After the fall of the Berlin Wall that signified the collapsed of socialism and end of the Cold War in Europe, the conjugation of the three concepts – capitalism, liberalism and democracy – became a matter of course. Capitalist liberal democracy became the presumed teleological end point for all polities in the world. However, its triumphal march has been disrupted by no less than the contradictions of global capitalism, global migration flows, the resurgence of religion, especially but not exclusively Islam, and the revolt of the ‘99%’ against the ‘1%’. These disruptions bring into question some of the fundamental ideological foundations of liberalism. With the demise of socialism in the West, contemporary capitalist liberal democracy appears to be caught in a malaise without imaginable future. In contrast, it will be argued that the current ideological conjuncture creates a discursive space for the resurrection of the concept of the ‘social’ in socialism, which is too important a critical idea to be dismissed on account of the failures of previously existing socialist economies.

Chua Beng Huat is Provost Chair Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Science (2009-2017) at the National University of Singapore, where he has previously served as Research Leader, Cultural Studies in Asia Research Cluster, Asia Research Institute (2000-2015); Convenor Cultural Studies Programmes (2008-2013) and Head, the Department of Sociology (2009-2015). His research interests includes Cultural Studies in Asia, East Asian Pop Culture, consumerism, urban and housing studies and comparative politics in Southeast Asia. His book publications include Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore, Political Legitimacy and Housing: Stakeholding in Singapore, Life is Not Complete without Shopping, and Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture (2012). The current public lecture is drawn from his forthcoming book, Political Liberalism Disavowed: communitarianism and state capitalism in Singapore, to be published simultaneously by the NUS Press and Cornell University Press. He is founding co-executive editor of the journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.

5.30pm Friday 9 December 2016
Room 116, Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14)
St Lucia Campus, The University of Queensland
For further information, please contact iash@uq.edu.au or 07 334 69492

All welcome but please RSVP here by 2 December 2016. 


Room 116, Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14), St Lucia Campus, The University of Queensland