Ever after the idea of “the Western civilization” was conceived, some intellectuals, politicians, and religious leaders have spelled doom for it. The “Western world” has been frequently embroiled in societal, ethical and economic crises, some of the most recent being war on terrorism, recession, and the influx of refugees. The rise of populist parties and inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States have further fueled narratives of a crisis-ridden West. The themes and narratives of the Western crisis have been recycled habitually and have often been accompanied by, or at least addressed, the idea of the West as a globally triumphant entity with universally applicable values. Currently, it seems, what is at stake is the “Western” liberal world-order. Recent political changes have created new challenges for liberal internationalism, and subsequently, crisis rhetoric has become a commonplace, but also controversial, part of narratives about the “liberal West” and its survival.
We are calling for articles for an edited volume focusing specifically on contemporary economic, ethnic, military, political, socio-cultural, and other crises that have emerged during the last decade, either in narrated or empirically lived reality. We especially encourage perspectives from political and social sciences, contemporary history, cultural studies, international relations, and geopolitics.
The articles should pay attention to the shifting meanings of the West. When people talk about crisis of “the liberal West”, how do they define the West? How is the West perceived to exist? What does a crisis of liberal world-order “tell” about the West? How does an anti-liberal (or neo/post-liberal) challenge change established conceptualizations of the West? How is the concept and idea of “liberal West” used as a (rhetoric/narrative) tool in politics and identity construction inside/outside of the so called Western countries, and what kind of narratives spawn from a crisis?
The main primary sources of the articles should entail explicit references to the concept of “the West”. In other words, the existence of the West or “Western society”, “Western culture, “Western countries” etc. should not be the premise of the article nor the construction of the writer, but literally observed/mentioned in the sources.
The “liberal West” may be examined in relation to, e.g., the following crises (imaginary or actual):
– Brexit, Trump presidency
– Deepening transatlantic rift; divisions and estrangement within Europe
– Rise of populism, xenophobia, racism
– Refugees, immigration
– Liberty versus security
– Political use of narratives about vanishing traditions; loss of values; religious fundamentalism/irreligiousness/atheism/secularism
– Neoliberalism, liberal democracy
– Global financial & economic crisis, overconsumption, environmental degradation, difficulty of forming a united front for finding solutions and compromises to global challenges
– Shifts in the economic and political world order: rising China, Putin’s Russia, extreme Islamism, narratives of a new Cold War, clash of civilizations
– West’s crises observed in the “non-West”
… and other perceived recent threats, perils, and menaces to “the liberal West”, from within and without.
Send your abstract, max 350 words to: jukka.jouhki[at]jyu.fi.
Deadline for abstracts: May 23, 2017.
The edited volume is planned to be published with a high-quality international academic publisher.
For more information, contact jukka.jouhki[at]jyu.fi.
Jukka Jouhki, Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä.
Marko Lehti, The Tampere Peace Research Institute, University of Tampere.
Henna-Riikka Pennanen, The John Morton Center for North American Studies, University of Turku
The editors are members of the coordinating team of The West Network, an international interdisciplinary network of scholars. Visit us at https://thewestnetwork.org.