I am a writer, scholar and political commentator interested in judgment and justice, ideologies, democracy's troubles with capitalism and capitalism's devious talent for survival. I draw on history of ideas and political sociology to produce (hopefully) politically salient and critical analyses of modern societies. I am currently a Professor of Social and Political Science at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies.
Capitalism is not on its deathbed, utopia is not in our future, and revolution is not in the cards. And yet, the time is ripe for radical progressive change.
My latest book
My latest book
"This is the big-think book of our time", James Galbraith, interview. Read his review "The Pandemic and Capitalism".Read more Awards
Regaining Our Futures Public Lecture
How can political theory help us break free of the tyranny of the present?
Organized by University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies
In the early 21st century, Western societies are at the height of their affluence, scientific brilliance, and institutional sophistication. Yet, they have lost the capacity to cope with the present and navigate the future. Long-term and global policy commitments are often neglected in favour of short-term and local concerns. We are trapped in the tyranny of a present scarred by rising inequality, precarity, discrimination and autocratic rule. Can political theory help us break free?
In this presentation, I will draw on some of the conceptual innovations I have developed throughout my life’s work as a political theorist, starting with my critical engagement in the 1989 revolution in my native Bulgaria, to suggest ways of expanding our intellectual and political ambitions.
Precarity's damage to liberal democracies Public Lecture
Guest lecture at OECD Council, Paris
Organized by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Within the lecture series "New Approaches to Economic Challenges" hosted by OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann (restricted to OECD ambassadors).
Precarity, Populism, and the future of progressive alternatives Public Lecture
A keynote at the European Civic Academy
Organized by European Civic Forum
Twenty years since the first European Social Forum took place in Florence, Italy, in November 2002, the fifth edition of the European Civic Academy asks "How can democratic civil society drive systemic change?". My keynote addresses the phenomenon of political inertia in times of crisis and the capacity of the precarious multitude to become an agent of radical social transformation.
Democracy with Foresight Public Lecture
The key to socially sustainable transition in Europe (and beyond)
Organized by The European Trade Union Institute
Two decades of perpetual crisis management have depleted Europe’s capacity to envision and pursue a future. How can the European Union steer the course towards the long-view of social and ecological wellbeing in this context of incessant emergencies? Drawing on our research into sustainable European integration and progressive social transformation Kalypso Nikolaidis and I discern a path for the socially sustainable transition we now need.
Idealism without Utopias Public Lecture
Organized by LUX
Utopias kill. We are better off without them. Yet we need a powerful idealism if we are to save the environment and save our societies at the same time.
Precarity for All Public Lecture
On the political drivers and consequences of insecurity
Organized by Boston University - Center for the Study of Europe
Pracarity is a state of politically generated social vulnerability that erodes solidarities and hampers socity's capacity to govern itself. Under the right conditions, however, it could generate emancipatory energies.
Capitalism, Democracy, Socialism Book
This book, collectively authored by members of the Research Committee on Socialism, Capitalism and Democracy (part of the International Political Science Association) critically analyzes the current historical conjuncture with an eye to its emergent alternatives.
The ends of radical critique? Crisis, capitalism, emancipation: a conversation Article
with Amy Allen, Paul Apostolidis and Lea Ypi
Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis or Utopia Article
with Azar Dakwar
Capitalism on Edge aims to redraw the terms of analysis of the so-called democratic capitalism and sketches a political agenda for emancipating society of its grip. This symposium reflects critically on Azmanova’s book and challenges her arguments on methodological, thematic, and substantive grounds. Azar Dakwar introduces the book’s claims and wonders about the nature of the anti-capitalistic agency Azmanova’s ascribes to the precariat. David Ingram worries about Azmanova’s deposing of “economic democracy” and the impact of which on the prospect of radical change she advocates. William Callison casts doubt over the empirical plausibility of Azmanova’s vision of crisis-free transition out of democratic capitalism. Eilat Maoz interrogates Azmanova’s emancipatory project from the historical standpoint of (de)colonization and global imperialism. In her reply to these criticisms, Azmanova accepts some and parries others, while bringing their points closer to her anti-capitalist vision.