Public lecture

Counter-hegemonic leadership for democratic alter-politics in our times

  • 23 February 2022 - 23 February 2022
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
  • Virtual IAS

Dr Alexandros Kioupkiolis is Associate Professor of Contemporary Political Theory at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece. He has studied Classics (BA, University of Athens), and Contemporary Political Theory (MA, Essex University, DPhil, Oxford University).

This presentation sets out to grapple with strategic challenges facing democratic alter-politics in our times, dwelling on the question of leadership to explore ways of overcoming the frailties and risks that beset grassroots collective agency for democratic renewal.

Discussion begins thus by fleshing out the notion of contemporary democratic alter-politics which breaks both with top-down statist rule and conventional activism, fostering openness, diversity, assembly-based democracy, attention to process, egalitarianism, prefiguration, work in everyday life along with mass mobilization, and engagement with institutions to effect change. In a second step, the argument brings out the strategic limitations of this alter-politics by engaging with relevant theories and reflections on strategy.

The following key part of the presentation will sketch the outlines of a strategy of counter-hegemony that could tackle some of these limitations by reconfiguring democratic leadership. Drawing on recent social movements and organizational studies, critical analysis will seek to indicate how the pursuit of effective leadership can be aligned with the alter-politics of egalitarian collective self-direction to boost and expand it in the political circumstances of the present.

The nub of the argument is that ‘another leadership’ that is assembly-based, technopolitical, reflective, distributed, ‘servant’, and feminized can further democratic alter-politics.

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Kieran Teasdale
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