I am a writer, scholar and political commentator interested in social justice and political judgment, the rise of new ideologies, and democracy's troubles with capitalism. I draw on history, philosophy and sociology as I seek to produce politically salient and critical analyses of modern societies. I am currently a Professor of Social and Political Science at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies, and honorary fellow at the Institute for Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick.
Capitalism is not on its deathbed, utopia is not in our future, and revolution is not in the cards. And yet, the time is ripe for radical progressive change.
Why Is the Right Riding High on Social Discontent? Public Lecture
The affluent Western societies are beset by impoverishment, inequality, and insecurity, and awash with massive discontent. The channels of electoral politics are translating this angst into support for far-right parties; autocracy thrives with the blessing of democratic publics. To make sense of this pathology, we need to shed some of the certitudes that have buttressed ‘progressive’ social criticism and intellectual critique.
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Le social dans quel Etat? Public Lecture
Keynote Address at Autumn University, League of Human Rights
(1) Global income inequality between countries is at its lowest level for almost 150 years. (2) Inequality in rich countries persists. (3) Our governments are doubling down on their commitment to social justice. Should we be pleased about the first? Should we worry about the second and applaud the third? Three times No. Our policy matrix continues to produce ubiquitous precarity, which makes economic inequalities both irrelevant and highly significant. If we place social security and economic stability at the centre of policy, we might reconcile social and ecological justice.
Social Movements' Response to Democracy in Crisis Public Lecture
A keynote address at the French Social Movements Summer School
In contexts of massive economic insecurity, the ballot box increasingly translates our private fears into reactionary politics. The role of social movements is invaluable -- to dispel our private anxieties through collective belongings, and to pressure public authority for anti-precarity policies.
Migration, Refugeehood and Justice Public Lecture
A keynote address at the SeNSS summer conference
Across Europe, democratic elections are fueling the far right, which is raising the banner of a purist utopia – a world in which the affluence and some of the freedoms of liberal democracy are preserved for select insiders. What can we, scholars, do to help harness social discontent into support for a progressive political agenda - one for inclusive, economically sustainable, and socially equitable societies?
Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation Public Lecture
ETUI panel: Beyond the polycrisis
The Panel discusses some of the original, alternative, heterodox and bold "transformative ideas" that could deliver (in a not-so-distant future) the structural change that the world needs.
What future for European democracy? Public Lecture
Differentiation, dominance, and possible EU trajectories
Panel discussion "Prospects of European democracy" at the EU3D concluding conference
Regaining Our Futures Public Lecture
How can political theory help us break free of the tyranny of the present?
In the early 21st century, Western societies are at the height of their affluence, scientific brilliance, and institutional sophistication. Yet, they have lost the capacity to cope with the present and navigate the future. Long-term and global policy commitments are often neglected in favour of short-term and local concerns. We are trapped in the tyranny of a present scarred by rising inequality, precarity, discrimination and autocratic rule. Can political theory help us break free?
In this presentation, I will draw on some of the conceptual innovations I have developed throughout my life’s work as a political theorist, starting with my critical engagement in the 1989 revolution in my native Bulgaria, to suggest ways of expanding our intellectual and political ambitions.