The Ends of Democracy

Populist Strategies, Skepticism about Democracy, and the Quest for Popular Sovereignty

November 7–9, 2017
SESC Unidade Pompeia São Paulo, Brazil

The rise of populist movements in recent years raises questions about the challenges for liberal democracy and its basic institutional forms. For instance, what are “the ends” of democracy in a double sense: what are the ends of democracy, that is, its purposes and promises, but also, what is the possibility of a collapse of democracy as a specific political form of government or an ideal for existing forms?  What meaning, if any, can be given to popular sovereignty during this time, and how does it relate to prevalent ideas of populism?  Following the spirit of the critical approach formulated by the Frankfurt generation of critical theory, this conference brings together philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and psychoanalysts from a range of countries to address the need for a reactualization of critical theory in light of present political challenges. Hosted by the Universidade de São Paulo Department of Philosophy in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, it is the second meeting of the conference cycle of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.


Natalia Brizuela
Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature and Culture
UC Berkeley, USA

Judith Butler
Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature
Co-Director, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs
UC Berkeley, USA

Vladimir Safatle
Professor and Director of Research
Department of Philosophy and Institute of Psychology
Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil