Video: Étienne Balibar — Democracy and Liberty in Times of Violence


On January 17, Étienne Balibar delivered the 2018 Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture at Bogaziçi University in Istanbul, under the heading "Democracy and Liberty in Times of Violence." 

"I referred to 'times of violence,'" Balibar say, "and I am sure that many of you may have wondered, as I did myself upon second thought, which times are not, in fact, times of violence."

I will readily admit that violence is a general condition of history, and a condition of politics, always directly affecting the forms in which they become intertwined. Further, I will presuppose that democracy and violence are intimately linked: not because democratic institutions would automatically neutralize violence, but because the forms in which democratic objectives are pursued, or democratic principles are implemented, always involve strategies of violence and civility. Conversely, the political forms in which violence is released or controlled, directly affect the possibilities of democratizing societies and states. However, when discussing these matters, which may seem highly speculative, there is a necessity to distinguish degrees and modalities of violence, to articulate forms of social or “structural” violence with forms of political “conjunctural” violence, and to take into account the extent to which they can be circumscribed within certain limits.

Watch a video recording of his presentation below. A full transcript is also available