The PSA Lecture: Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

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Exploring contemporary identity politics and the struggle for recognition

Against the recent rise in populist and economic nationalism, historian and bestselling author Francis Fukuyama traces the development of the idea of identity. He draws on this history to deliver a sharp warning: that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we are doomed to endure continual conflict.

Francis Fukuyama saw our current crisis coming. In 2014 he wrote that American and global institutions were in disarray and too weak to withstand the capture of the state by powerful interest groups. 

Two years later, his predictions are being borne out with the rise of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarianism is destabilising the international order. These populist nationalists claim a direct connection with ‘the people’, a group usually defined in narrow and exclusionary terms. It seems that the demands of identity define world politics today. Anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicised Islam, the fractious environment of many college campuses, and the re-emergence of white nationalism – all these are rooted in challenges to the universal recognition that is the basis of liberal democracy. Too many now gravitate towards restrictive forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, or ethnicity. 

Francis Fukuyama is a Professor at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies and Director of the Institute’s Centre on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is the author of Political Order and Political Decay, The Origins of Political Order, The Great Disruption, Our Posthuman Future and State Building, among others. He is known for his influential 1989 essay, The End of History? which announced the triumph of liberal democracy and was a timely and influential thesis that chimed with the ending of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union and is still highly relevant in current ideological debates. 

The discussion is chaired by Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham.

Part of the PSA British Library Lecture Series 2018, which aims to inspire public engagement and a better understanding of politics, especially within wider historical and cultural contexts.

Image: Francis Fukuyama


Name: The PSA Lecture: Francis Fukuyama
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £15.00
Member: £15.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Student: £10.00
Registered Unemployed: £10.00
Under 18: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546