Transformations of Liberal Reason: Migration Politics and Shifts in Cultural Self-Interpretation
In light of the current multiple crises, authoritarian movements gain new strength. Claiming that globalization and especially migration is endangering social cohesion and national sovereignty, without considering political-economic aspects, they call for a strong state. Along the lines of those claims, they revise what Helmut Dubiel called the ... cultural selfinterpretation, meaning the understanding of the political super-structure of their community. Doing that, liberal values and concepts are re-inter-preted, as can be seen with the rule of law for example. From its intrinsic value of strengthening individual claims against the state s rule, they turn it into a concept of state power, interpreting the rule of law as the rule of a mythical legitimized sover-eign. Those re-interpretations and legal constructs referring to them will be an-alyzed in this essay. Authoritarian politics and their roots will be regarded in their contradictory relation to (neo-)liberalism as they appear as a critique towards it at first glance. Yet, taking into account early Critical Theory and its analysis of authoritarian-ism, the article aims to show that those tendencies emerge from liberal ideas and ide-als. Seen from this perspective the article promotes the view that rather than a pure defense of liberalism, a materialist examination of liberalism s inner contradictions is necessary to understand and criticize authoritarianism.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 10 (2020)