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Job talk - The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Militant Consociational Democracy in Belgium

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Abstract: Confronted with the recent surge of the extreme right, European democracies have reacted very differently, navigating between two extremes. On the one hand, consociational democracies seek to pacify societal divisions through political inclusion and compromise. On the other hand, militant democracies seek to neutralize threats to democracy and liberal values by excluding anti-system parties from power. Because one type of democracy is based on inclusion and the other on exclusion, “militant consociational democracy”would seem a contradiction in terms. However, Belgium presents just this perplexing combination of features. The same parties that work together across the country’s linguistic divisions in an elaborate consociational federation have systematically boycotted the Flemish and francophone extreme-right parties. My paper is the first to examine the phenomenon of “militant consociational democracy”, tracing its historical roots and considering its implications.