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14/01 - "The Confessional Politics of Democracy" Lecture by Andrea Teti, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

La visita di Andrea Teti è organizzata in collaborazione con Francesca Biancani del Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali.

14/01/2020 dalle 17:30 alle 19:00

Dove Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna (first floor)

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This lecture deploys a confessional analysis to tackle the (re)production of failing EU ‘democracy assistance’ policies towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Drawing on innovative Critical Discourse Analysis of EU documents on the one hand, and on public opinion survey data on the other, the lecture illustrates the profound mismatch between what Arab citizens want and what the EU is willing to give. The first half of the lecture sets out the empirical dimensions of these policies’ failure: it details the mismatch between the EU’s supply of policy in its Southern Neighbourhood and the demand for change by ordinary citizens in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The second half of the lecture provides a framework to interpret the politics of democracy –particularly its authoritarian and neoliberal restrictions– on both shores of the Mediterranean and its recurrent failures based on a generalised model of Foucault’s fragmentary remarks on avowal and confession. It will be shown that the way contemporary social science frames the questions of democracy, development and stability/security displays confessional properties, i.e. that the discursive framing of the shared emancipatory task of democratization, far from favouring that outcome, effectively undermines it, while simultaneously re-legitimising this frame itself by blaming the anti-democratic ‘Other’ for these failures.


Andrea Teti is Senior Lecturer in Intenational Relations, 2018/19 Visiting Fellow at the GramsciLab (University of Cagliari), and Visiting Professor at the University of Ghent's Middle East & North Africa Research Group (2018), as well as co-founder and Co-Chair of the Critical Middle East Studies group of the British Society for Middle East Studies. He was previously Principal Investigator for the ArabTransformations Project (2015-16) and held the 2015-16 ACCESS Europe Visiting Fellow at the University of Amsterdam (2015-16). In 2016, he joined the Editorial Board of Middle East Critique. In Aberdeen is also Board member of the Centre for Civil Society and Rule of Law and of the POLITICO doctoral programme, as well as member and formerly Director of both the Centre for Moden Thought and the Centre for Global Security and Govenance. His research focuses on the politics of democracy promotion in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and several related areas spanning the history and theory of social science. Dr Teti has published widely in English, Italian and French on democratization, Egyptian politics, knowledge production in Social Science, and political theory (e.g. Constructivism, Orientalism). His analyses are considered leading exemplars of Constructivism and of Poststructuralism in these areas, as well as innovative uses of Critical Discourse Analysis in unpacking EU foreign policy towards the Middle East and influential critiques of orthodox models of Democratization in the region. Among his recent pubblications: Teti, Abbott & Cavatorta (2019): Beyond Elections: Perceptions of Democracy in Four Arab Countries, Democratization 26(4): 645-665; Sapsford, Tsourapas, Abbott, Teti (2019): Corruption, Trust, Inclusion and Cohesion in North Africa and the Middle East, Applied Research in Quality of Life, 14(1): 1-21;Abbott, Teti & Sapsford (2018): Young people’s politics and social values in and after the Arab Uprisings, Mediterranean Politics; Teti, Abbott & Cavatorta (2018): The Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, Palgrave; Teti, Democracy without Social Justice (2015), Middle East Critique, 24(1): 1-17; Teti, Orientalism as a form of Confession (2014), Foucault Studies, 17: 193-212. His last book, “Avowal and Confession in Foucault’s Early Work, 1954-1972” is currenly in press.