Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Workshop, seminar › Academic
The theme of our rountable is inspired by current societal and political developments, especially the rise of populism and the emergence of elected autocratic leaders in many countries over the world. History shows that democracy and autocracy are all but mutually exclusive. In the 5th century BC the implementation of Athenian democracy required autocratic leadership. Robespierre legitimized his reign of terror with an appeal to the will of the people, as did many dictators after him. Democracy was instrumental in fascist and Nazi seizure of power, and the past decades saw the rise of illiberal democracy. And even in the mother of all parliaments, Brexit and Boris Johnson have laid bare the vulnerability of democracy. What can be the lessons learned if we reconsider the historical relation between democracy and autocracy? Lessons for studying political history and for analyzing present-day politics.