Beyond Civil Society: Renewing the traditions of reform in Europe

compass with eu globe and gold arrow pointing to the word 'reform'

Beyond Civil Society: Renewing the traditions of reform in Europe

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Charles S. Maier (Harvard University)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
ESC Annual Lecture

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The apparent triumph of democracy attributed to the revival of civil society in Eastern Europe and neo-liberal energies at the end of the 20th century has yielded to grimmer assessments for democracy and capitalism in the 21st century in the wake of economic crisis, the rise of populist authoritarianism, climate disaster, and war.  East-West geopolitical tensions and North-South inequalities challenge Europe and America.  This lecture will review the historical record and argue that the fashionable slogans of governance and civil society need to be rebalanced by a renewed agenda for state/EU political institutions.

Charles S. Maier is the Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History at Harvard University. Following undergraduate studies at Harvard, he attended St. Antony’s College on a Henry Fellowship in 1960-61, where he worked with James Joll.  He returned to Harvard for his PhD and has taught there since, with an interval at Duke University from 1976 to 1981.  His books include Recasting Bourgeois Europe (1975), The Unmasterable Past (1988), Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany (1997), Once within Borders (2016), and The Project State and its Rivals (2023).  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and has received the Commander’s Cross of the German Federal Republic and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and the Arts.