One year after

I cannot believe that I have not been writing for this blog for one year! It has been a sort of vicious circle. The more time was passing, the more I was thinking that my new post had to be exceptional, special, and the more I refrained from writing. I have never been the kind of person that easily shares on social networks  whatever comes to her mind. I always have doubts about whether what I think deserves to be shared and I have to somehow force myself to write on a platform like this, where my words are meant to stay and can be accessed by everyone. I am particularly wary of commenting current events, as I feel that most of the time, in spite of my label of ‘political scientist’, I cannot speak as more than as an informed (more or less) and concerned citizen. Yet, I have decided to keep this blog for a reason. I have understood that it is a tremendously effective way to convey certain messages. My last post about the insecurity of life as a ‘migrant researcher’ was read and discussed by most people around me, including my former supervisor.

In the meantime, my life has radically changed. I moved to the UK, where I got a tenure-track position at Loughborough University. It is on the one hand a huge success for me and a big relief after a long time spent looking for work. On the other, it is a challenge, as I have much more engagements and responsibilities than in my past roles, especially with respect to teaching. And I have moved to the UK at what is probably not an ideal time…

2016 has been a complicated year world-wide. We had the Brexit, Trump election, in Italy a new government crisis (this was perhaps the last unpredictable event…). From the rise of populism in Europe, the downward authoritarian spiral taken by countries like Turkey, the success of Bashar al-Assad in recapturing Aleppo, the decision of a number of African countries to leave the International Criminal Court, all signals point out to a crisis of the liberal international order that had taken shape after the end of the Cold War. Given this, it is somewhat ironic to me that a lot of ‘critical’ academic literature seem still focused on attacking the shortcomings and hypocrisies of liberalism. It seems to me that the topic of ‘illiberal peacebuilding’, on which I have been reflecting in the last few years, will be of renewed relevance in the near future. This makes me feel somehow torn between my identity as a social scientist and my conscience as a citizen. For the social scientist, these are interesting times; as a person and a citizen, I am worried – partly for myself, partly for the world as a whole. But perhaps we should not be too tragic: it is too easy to paint an over-negative picture of today’s situation and forget that humanity has gone through the catastrophe of two world wars and the threat of nuclear war in recent history.

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