Many observers and scholars recognize the threat to democratic institutions bearing down on American politics. Few appreciate that this threat is in fact the product of America’s great wave of democratization in the 1960s and 1970s. Because democratization requires government activism it begets opponents. Then and today, advocates of anti-statism and limited government wanted to end federal activism, to restore states’ rights, and to de-democratize federal authority for a heady mixture of ideological, racial, and financial reasons. Professor King defines de-democratization as seeking to constrain the core activities of the state – standardization, regulatory enforcement, the rule of law and equality of opportunity and requisite to establishing rights of citizenship. Each of these government activities grew after the 1960s coincidental with the democratic changes generated in American society. The event will be chaired by Professor Amrita Narlikar, President of the GIGA.
Professor Desmond King holds the Andrew W Mellon Professorship of American Government at the University of Oxford where he is a professorial fellow of Nuffield College and an emeritus fellow of St John’s College. He has written widely about United States government and executive politics including on racial inequality (Still a House Divided PUP 2013, with Rogers M Smith), economic policy (Fed Power: How Finance Wins OUP 2017, with Larry Jacobs), immigration policy (Making Americans HUP 2001), democratization (The Liberty of Strangers OUP 2007), and state power (The Unsustainable American State OUP 2008, with Larry Jacobs; Reconfiguring European States in Crisis OUP 2018, with Patrick Le Gales). He has been elected a fellow of several learned societies including the British Academy, Academia Europaea, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Following the event, there will be an opportunity for further exchange during a lunch reception.
Seating is limited; please register early to avoid disappointment.
The GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series brings leading minds in academia and policy from all over the world to Hamburg to stimulate public exchange on key global developments.