Seattle, WA 98122 United States
Join German sociologist Oliver Nachtwey and German political scientist Niko Switek for a conversation on how neoliberalism is causing a social crisis in Germany and the rest of Europe.
Upward social mobility represented a core promise of life under the “old” West German welfare state, in which millions of skilled workers upgraded their Volkswagens to Audis, bought their first homes, and sent their children to university. Not so in today’s Federal Republic, where the gears of the so-called “elevator society” have long since ground to a halt. In the absence of the social mobility of yesterday, widespread social exhaustion and anxiety have emerged across mainstream society. This discussion will investigate the crisis of contemporary capitalism in postwar Europe, the reasons for the political and social rupture in German society and the rise of right-wing populism throughout and beyond Europe.
Oliver Nachtwey is Associate Professor of Social Structure Analysis at the University of Basel, and a fellow at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt. His research interests include labour and industrial sociology, political sociology, the comparative study of capitalism, and social movements.
Niko Switek is DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor for German Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School for International Studies and the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.
Co-sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.
Oliver Nachtwey's US Tour is made possible by the generous support of Deutschlandjahr USA | Year of German-American Friendship.
"A must to read for everyone interested in the dark side of the economic wealth of Western countries.” —Axel Honneth
“A true masterpiece. Focusing on the case of Germany—which has long been mispresented and misperceived as a paragon of economic success and political stability—Oliver Nachtwey offers a detailed account of the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Moving at the forefront of leading theories of political economy, the book develops an empirically grounded synthetic perspective on ‘regressive modernity,’ a concept of which much can be expected for future progress in the study of capitalist development.” —Wolfgang Streeck
“A major critical review of Europe’s most important country, its socio-economics, its politics, and its self-diagnoses.” —Göran Therborn