The second ECREA 2016 keynote this evening is by Sabina Mihelj, who begins by acknowledging the substantial growth in eastern European media research, which has challenged and surpassed Cold War frameworks. We now have a better understanding of how the Cold War affected media and communication in east as well as west, and there is much in this history to be optimistic about.
But the ground has shifted again: several European countries now no longer want to be part of a democratic Europe, and the United States have just democratically elected a leader who actively opposes many democratic principles. The notions of democracy, and of Europe, as strikingly different across the countries of this continent. There no longer is a great deal of reasons to be optimistic.
It is 9 November and there are a few other things going on in the world, but here I am in Prague at the ECREA 2016 conference, which opens this evening with a couple of major keynotes. Time to put the shock about the electoral success of naked neo-fascism in the United States to one side and explore the broader trends in late western democracy, in a keynote by Peter Dahlgren.
He begins by suggesting that the events of today represent a historical rupture; late democracy has become a whole lot later, and the times are a great deal darker than before. We must be worried and angry, even, but also embrace an obstinate optimism that develops a vision for the future. We are now in a qualitatively different situation.