“Rethinking Democracy - Democracy Without a Public Sphere” will be live-streamed on Wednesday, May 27

The Trinity Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin live-streamed its discussion “Rethinking Democracy - Democracy Without a Public Sphere” on Wednesday, May 27 at 4:30 pm GMT / 11:30 am EST.

You can watch back on the live stream discussion here on IrishCentral or over on our Facebook page, where it was presented in conjunction with Trinity’s Long Room Hub.

Rethinking Democracy | DEMOCRACY WITHOUT A PUBLIC SPHERE

‘People need agency and voice in a crisis. This is a time when, more than ever, governments need to be open and transparent, responsive and accountable to the people they are seeking to protect ….’ – Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, António Guterres As large gatherings of people are prohibited under the measures introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19, for many the established means of debate and protest have been constrained. At the same time, decision-making processes are increasingly opaque. For those historically marginalised, civic engagement is becoming even more difficult. The pandemic is creating new difficulties for democracies while exposing chronic, long-term challenges. While Covid-19 has fuelled demands for 24-hour coverage and demonstrated the need for experts and reliable content, the media industry is likewise struggling. The loss of vital advertising revenue is placing unsustainable economic pressure on already-stretched traditional news outlets. Control of information and censorship is threatening the freedom of the press in some regions. The pandemic has also been accompanied by a fake news ‘infodemic’, spread primarily through social media platforms and promoted by a few prominent leaders. With normal civic life disrupted and journalism facing a potential crisis, this final instalment in the five-part workshop series will ask if democracy can function without the public sphere. Panelists Melody Barnes is Co-Director for Policy and Public Affairs for the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia, Dorothy Danforth Compton Professor of Practice at the Miller Center of Public Affairs and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Law. From 2009 until January 2012, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She also served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Bill Emmott is a writer and consultant best known for his 13 years as editor-in-chief of The Economist. He is the author of 14 books variously on Japan, Asia, the twentieth century and Italy, and narrated and co-writer of a documentary film about Italy, Girlfriend in a Coma. He is currently chair of the Trinity Long Room Hub board. Fintan O’Toole is an Irish Times columnist and writer. He was the winner of the 2017 European Press Prize and Orwell Prize. His most recent works include Heroic Failure: Brexit and Politics of Pain (2018) and The Politics of Pain: Postwar England and the Rise of Nationalism (2019).

Publiée par Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute sur Mercredi 27 mai 2020

Read More: WATCH: Trinity panel discussion on “Rethinking Democracy”

“Rethinking Democracy” is a five-part series organized by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, in partnership with the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The conversations build upon issues addressed in the free, online Crises of Democracy curriculum launched earlier this year. The curriculum, which includes videos, podcasts, and readings, is the product of the Global Humanities Institute on the crises of democracy funded by the CHCI (Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes) and the A.W. Mellon Foundation. Both the Trinity Long Room Hub and the Heyman Centre were involved in this project with partners from Brazil, India, and Croatia.

Read More: WATCH: Trinity panel discusses inequality and COVID-19

Of Wednesday’s event, organizers say: “As large gatherings of people are prohibited under the measures introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19, for many the established means of debate and protest have been constrained. At the same time, decision-making processes are increasingly opaque. For those historically marginalised, civic engagement is becoming even more difficult. The pandemic is creating new difficulties for democracies while exposing chronic, long-term challenges.

“While Covid-19 has fuelled demands for 24-hour coverage and demonstrated the need for experts and reliable content, the media industry is likewise struggling. The loss of vital advertising revenue is placing unsustainable economic pressure on already-stretched traditional news outlets. Control of information and censorship is threatening the freedom of the press in some regions. The pandemic has also been accompanied by a fake news ‘infodemic’, spread primarily through social media platforms and promoted by a few prominent leaders.

“With normal civic life disrupted and journalism facing a potential crisis, this final installment in the five-part workshop series will ask if democracy can function without the public sphere.”

Read More: WATCH: "Rethinking Democracy" discussion from Trinity College

Panelists 

Melody Barnes is Co-Director for Policy and Public Affairs for the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia,  Dorothy Danforth Compton Professor of Practice at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Law. From 2009 until January 2012, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She also served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Bill Emmott is a writer and consultant best known for his 13 years as editor-in-chief of The Economist. He is the author of 14 books variously on Japan, Asia, the twentieth century and Italy, and narrated and co-writer of a documentary film about Italy, Girlfriend in a Coma. He is currently chair of the Trinity Long Room Hub board.

Fintan O’Toole is an Irish Times columnist and writer. He was the winner of the 2017 European Press Prize and Orwell Prize. His most recent works include Heroic Failure: Brexit and Politics of Pain (2018) and The Politics of Pain: Postwar England and the Rise of Nationalism (2019).

Resources 

Read More: WATCH: Trinity College live panel discussion on public health crises and democracy

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