Video - Lecture by Michael Wilkinson

In ‘Lineages of Authoritarian Liberalism’, Michael Wilkinson outlines the concept of authoritarian liberalism (the combination of political authoritarianism and economic liberalism) and presents the historical trajectory of the phenomenon in the theatre of European post-war reconstruction. Although intensified in critical moments, such as the recent Euro-crisis and the interwar breakdown of liberal constitutionalism in Weimar, Wilkinson explores the deeper affinity between political authoritarianism and economic liberalism through exposing liberalism’s deep-seated fear of democracy, and especially democratic constituent power. The ideal-typical post-war European state is reconstituted on the basis of this fear, which partly reflects the threat democracy is perceived to pose to the liberal economy. This process involves a domestic institutional and cultural reordering as well as a regional reordering through the construction of a European economic constitutionalism. It is a settlement that now faces a series of crises.

 Michael Wilkinson is Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he teaches and researches in the areas of European integration, constitutional theory and legal, political and social theory. He has published widely on the idea of authoritarian liberalism (in the German Law Journal, the European Law Journal and Critical Sociology) and is the co-editor of two volumes on constitutional theory and comparative constitutionalism, Constitutionalism Beyond Liberalism (CUP, 2017) and Questioning the Foundations of Public Law (Hart, 2018). He is currently working on a monograph for Oxford University Press, entitled, The Reconstitution of Europe: Lineages of Authoritarian Liberalism.

The lecture is part of the Lecture Series Rethinking Law, Democracy and Capitalism organized jointly by Jan Komárek (iCourts) and Niklas Olsen (CEMES).