Convening 14 March 2019 New York City (New York)
The Trap of Polarization and the Erosion of Democratic Discourse

The event hosted by the Italian Academy at Columbia University and promoted by ResetDOC in cooperation with the New York Review of Books was a big success and an outstanding occasion to discuss about the global Illiberal Trend with some of the most incisive analysts and political scientists.

Thanks to all the participants who gathered at Columbia for such a vivid debate.

Please find here a selection of the event picturesPHOTO GALLERY


CONFERENCE: The Trap of Polarization and the Erosion of Democratic Discourse

March 14, 2019 (2 pm – 6.30 pm) | The Italian Academy at Columbia University | 1161 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

In a democracy, every member of the polity is treated as free and equal because she/he shares the same rights in the formal decision-making process. The preferences, values, and interests of individuals are given equal weight. Since democratic regimes are marked by a plurality of perspectives and values, collective decision-making on behalf of the whole polity requires a fair process of mediation and deliberation.

To achieve a truly inclusive and open public sphere where no dominant perspective is imposed from above – and where values and proposals are freely discussed and challenged – participants must evaluate proposals on their merits.

This requires reasonable and reasoning citizens who are ready to exchange arguments, to respect their fellow citizens, and engage in deliberation in order to identify a consensus amidst competing values and perspectives. Extreme political polarization is undermining this process in contemporary democratic regimes, creating divisions that cannot be mediated and ideological counter-positions that transform fellow citizens in enemies who aim at defeating each other rather than cooperating for the common good.

What are the structural causes of extreme political polarization, and can it be reversed?

How can we foster an atmosphere of deliberation?

ResetDOC will address these questions with a one-day conference on political polarization in comparative perspective.

List of speakers: Giuliano Amato • Anthony Appiah • Karen Barkey • Seyla Benhabib • Sheri Berman • Giancarlo Bosetti • José Casanova •  Stanley Greenberg • Stephen Hanson • Joseph LaPalombara • Jonathan Laurence • Soli Özel • Ece Temelkuran • Michael Walzer

The Conference is Free and open to the public.


Welcome speech and opening (2.00 pm)

Joseph LaPalombara

Giancarlo Bosetti

2.15 pm – 4.45 pm  

Anthony Appiah Against Tribalism

Stanley Greenberg President Trump’s Tea Party revolution and end of America’s polarization

Ece Temelkuran From Democracy to the New Political Ice Age


Karen Barkey, Stephen Hanson, Soli Özel

Coffee Break (4.45 pm – 5.15 pm)

Roundtable  (5.15 pm – 6.30 pm)

Giuliano Amato, Seyla Benhabib, Sheri Berman, José Casanova, Michael Walzer



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