Brave New Worlds?!

The Future of Democracy and Citizenship Education

Mission Statement

Liberal democracy is in a state of crisis. Worldwide, a “democratic recession” can be observed, even in countries that have long claimed a leading role worldwide in defending and spreading democratic values and freedoms.
Uncertainties about the future of the European Union and its transformation into a “Citizens’ Europe” are shaping the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May 2019. At the same time we observe new signals for a renewed emphasis on the value of citizenship education as an indispensable subject for democracies in the 21st century. And various other voices (Etienne Balibar, Ivan Krastev, Ulrike Guérot) invite us to rethink the democratic foundations of a European Union that is faced with conflicting interests and global turmoil.

The conference “Brave New Worlds?!”, named after Aldous Huxley’s famous 1932 dystopia, hinges on three intertwined challenges that democracies and citizenship education must address.

  • “Brave New Worlds?!” will address the challenges posed by the discourses and practices of an “illiberal democracy” that is increasingly restricting and endangering the space for civil society and citizenship education.
    With guests from Hungary, Poland and other countries, the conference will fuel a transnational debate and provide a platform where very different national contexts and counter-strategies may be discussed and transnational spheres of action created.
  • “Brave New Worlds?!” also queries the consequences of a technological revolution that digitises our everyday life, allowing large technological groups’ manipulation power to increase globally. One main topic of the conference will be the question of whether and how digitisation changes democracy, how negative side-effects of Big Tech affect democracy and how politics and civil society can react to this.
  • Finally, “Brave New Worlds?!” is about the new, immersive “political” worlds that enable people to withdraw into emotional shelters and echo-chambers in order to protect themselves from complexity as well as imagined and real threats. How to deal with these irreversible processes, how to better understand the emotional mechanisms and strategies of anti-democratic agitation will be at the heart of a focus on “Emotions and Politics.”

This year’s NECE conference in Marseille will focus on these global processes and provide a platform to discuss strategies on how civil society and citizenship education in Europe can turn this trend in liberal democracy.

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Download the NECE 2018 Conference Programme (short version)

Day 1
06 Sep 2018
Day 2
07 Sep 2018
Day 3
08 Sep 2018
Day 4
09 Sep 2018