Sleepwalking the Revolution
How can Lacanian theory, in connection with Walter Benjamin’s attitude, help us to understand the historical period of 1939–1956 in Eastern Europe? Can we experience a revolution in which the agency of revolution is not our own? What are the consequences of such an event for the social imaginary – or the symbolic field – of a given society? We will discuss all these questions on the basis of the Polish example, considering the deep change in Polish society that occurred in the period of German occupation and Stalinism.
Lessons from the Fate of a Social Movement
How is it possible that the Solidarity trade union was, shortly after being founded in 1980, the largest and most explicitly social workers’ movement in Polish history – and arguably also in the history of Eastern Europe – a movement oriented toward the importance of common goods, and yet when it came to power it enacted the most neoliberal transformation of the economy possible? What happened during the eighties with the socially oriented elites of this movement? And what happened with the former Communist Party activists who became so strongly dedicated to implementing the Washington Consensus in Poland after 1989? Andzrej Leder will discuss these questions and the lessons they can teach us about social movements today.
Andrzej Leder, a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, has published on topics ranging from psychoanalysis, Hegel, and social theory to Polish culture and history. His 2014 book Prześniona rewolucja. Ćwiczenie z logiki historycznej (Sleepwalking the Revolution: An Exercise in Historical Logic) was widely discussed in Poland and nominated for multiple awards.
Both events supported by the Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy.