From Subject to Citizen – And Back: crises of the republic

Hosted by the Department of International Relations and the Middle East Centre as part of the Fred Halliday Me

Online public event


Professor Charles Tripp

Professor Charles Tripp


Professor Karen E. Smith

Professor Karen E. Smith

This year’s Fred Halliday Memorial Event will explore how and why the symbolic investment in republican discourse and the building of republican institutions can be so detrimental to the rights of the very public that they are meant to represent, even embody.

In the construction and history of the republic, the qualities of liberty, of solidarity and of equality have been powerful affective rallying points, shaping the political imagination and holding out the promise of active citizenship. However, the practices of republics have more often than not borne out the charge of ‘organised hypocrisy’. Even where these principles have not been overturned, there remains a tension between them and the political and economic forces that demand a more disciplined, hierarchical order for the reproduction of their power. Using, by way of illustration, examples from across the Middle East and North Africa, it will nevertheless be argued that these are more universal features of the ways in which republican ideals have materialised – but at the same time, the very tensions and contradictions provide incentives and spaces for an insurgent citizenship.

Meet our speaker and chair

Charles Tripp is Professor Emeritus of Politics with reference to the Middle East and North Africa, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests include the nature of autocracy, state and resistance in the Middle East, the politics of Islamic identity and the relationship between art and power. He is currently working on a study of the emergence of the public and the rethinking of republican ideals in Tunisia. Together with other colleagues he has been one of the founders of the Centre for Comparative Political Thought at SOAS.

Karen E. Smith is Professor of International Relations and Head of the Department of International Relations at LSE, and is Director of the European Foreign Policy Unit.

More about this event

The Department of International Relations (@LSEIRDept) is one of the oldest as well as largest in the world. We are ranked 4th in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2019 tables for Politics and International Studies.

The LSE Middle East Centre (@LSEMiddleEast) builds on LSE's long engagement with the Middle East and North Africa and provides a central hub for the wide range of research on the region carried out at LSE.

Find out more about the Fred Halliday memorial lecture series.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEHalliday

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