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Author: Samuel Abrahám

The intellectual in Central Europe: Havel, Orbán and Walter

What option is open to Central European intellectuals today? How can they maintain their independent stance and moral principles, yet find a position where they can support democracy in their countries? This is a particularly pressing question today, when Central Europe is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism.

At a recent conference of European editors of cultural journals, an English participant remarked, a bit puzzled, how only in Central Europe do people still talk in all seriousness about – and even quarrel passionately over – the role, place and responsibility of intellectuals. First, I felt slightly embarrassed recalling that Kritika & Kontext, the journal I founded in 1996, had devoted a whole issue to “The Intellectual and Society”. The debate then was both serious and passionate and, rereading it now, seems still valid today. Perhaps after all there is a special place for intellectuals in the heaven and hell of Central Europe.

January 2, 2019 - Samuel Abrahám

No alternative to liberal democracy?

The status and merit of liberal democracy is a hotly debated topic, especially in Central Europe. The question remains whether Central and Eastern European states, which recently appear to be shifting more to the far right, will eventually embrace western liberalism or will populist and nationalist politics become more widespread.

April 27, 2017 - Samuel Abrahám

The centre cannot hold

Reflecting on the turmoil occurring in Europe today, one is prone to ask whether it is a symptom of the larger global crisis or a sign of the European Union’s systemic weakness to withstand pressure from within. In particular, has the influx of refugees in 2015 manifest Brussels’ lack of will, means or both to […]

April 20, 2016 - Samuel Abrahám

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