Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Vergleichende Demokratieforschung und die Politischen Systeme Osteuropas

Buchpreis für das Buch Flexible Authoritarianism von Anna Schwenck

*Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in the Sociology of Culture 2024 (American Sociological Association) *

Flexible Authoritarianism challenges the notion that authoritarianism's transnational rise constitutes a backlash against economic globalization. Describing a governmental approach that simultaneously incentivizes a can-do spirit and suppresses dissent, the book points out resonances between authoritarian and neoliberal ideologies in today's comeback of strongman rule. Drawing on field observations, in-depth interviews, and analyses of video clips, it conveys the look and feel of flexible authoritarianism in Russia through the eyes of up-and-coming youth. The author analyzes ways in which the insignia of cool start-up capitalism and familiar cultural forms such as the summer camp help stabilize the regime, while also showing how up-and-coming youth both embrace and contest loyalty to the government.

*Anna Schwenck*'s research lies at the intersection of cultural and political sociology. She is particularly interested in how cultural understandings, be they transnational or locally specific, shape political behaviour. She studied the resonances between authoritarianism and neoliberalism in Russia, pandemic and science skepticism in German-speaking countries, and processes of re-traditionalization in popular music cultures. Her recent work investigates the role of liberation songs and narratives in conventional and contentious politics in South Africa.

Anna Schwenck is employed at the University of Siegen's department of social sciences and the Siegen-based collaborative research centre "Transformations of the Popular" (SFB 1472). She is also a visiting researcher at the University of the Western Cape's Anthropology Department in South Africa. She earned a PhD in Sociology and an MA in Social Sciences from Humboldt University Berlin, as well as a BA in Cultural Studies from Viadrina European University, Frankfurt (Oder). She was a visiting student/scholar at University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Sociology Department at the University of California (Berkeley), and the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow).

Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin