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Elisabeth Holzleithner is the last speaker in the series of lectures and workshops on critical legal theory for the time being. We are very much looking forward to this highlight and conclusion, which will focus on fundamental problems of political liberalism. The central question is how a critical and emancipative political liberalism is possible.

Monday, 27.01.20, 6 pm c.t., Haus zur Lieben Hand, Löwenstraße 16

It is no news that the liberal constitutional state is in crisis. In Hungary, illiberal democracy was proclaimed years ago; nationalist movements are calling for Law & Order, but are not so particular about the rule of law. Human rights and tolerance are relativized when it comes to the rights of “others” of other faiths, especially those seeking asylum, and sometimes the validity of the European Convention on Human Rights is even questioned. The fear of “imported” dangers is the main driving force behind these developments, and is fuelled by resentful narratives.

It is at this point, the role of fear, that the lecture begins. As people’s fear of each other, it has played a very central role in the founding and design of the modern state, at least since Hobbes. It is taken to its extreme with Carl Schmitt, who virtually celebrates the danger that people pose to each other. He considers liberalism to be politically naive because it is based on an overly optimistic view of humanity. But anyone who takes fear seriously as an eminently political factor does not have to end up with a strong or even total state. At least that is Judith Shklar’s intuition, which she spells out in her “Liberalism of Fear”.

Against this background, the lecture asks the question of whether fear can be productively turned in politics and whether ways can be found to gradually lead the liberal constitutional state out of the crisis.

Workshop on 28.01.20, 9 am s.t. - 12 pm s.t.

In the workshop we will have the opportunity for an intensive discussion based on texts. It will deal with a currently ongoing procedure, the material of which we analysed and theoretically reflect. The texts will be sent out with the registration, which should be done by 23.01.20 at

More about the lecture series

Further dates and background information [can be found here](../../lecture series-critical-legal theory)

The lecture series is organized by Karsten Schubert with the support of the Team of the Chair of Political Theory, Philosophy and History of Ideas of the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg and in cooperation with the Freiburg Colloquium politicum.

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