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Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Jack Snyder
Illiberal Modernity and National Populism in the BRICS and the West
Thursday, March 02, 2017, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Studies
1501 Neil Avenue, Room 120
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Jack Snyder

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Jack Snyder (Ph.D., Columbia, 1981) is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia. His books include Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War, co-authored with Edward D. Mansfield; From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict; Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition; The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914; and Religion and International Relations Theory, editor.

His articles on such topics as crisis diplomacy ("The Cost of Empty Threats; A Penny, Not a Pound," American Political Science Review, August 2011, co-authored with Erica Borghard), democratization and war, nationalism, imperial overstretch, war crimes tribunals versus amnesties, international relations theory after September 11, and anarchy and culture have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, and World Politics.

Snyder is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, editor of the W. W. Norton book series on World Politics, and an elected member of Columbia's Arts and Sciences Policy and Planning Committee. Snyder received a B.A. in government from Harvard in 1973 and the certificate of Columbia's Russian Institute in 1978.


In both developed and developing states, challenges to the liberal order are converging on a single main competitor, populist nationalism, which is a response to the tension between two central elements of liberal modernity: free markets and mass participation in politics. When popular self-determination is expressed through the nation-state, mass public grievances against the “creative destruction” caused by free markets in goods, capital, and labor often take the form of populist nationalism.

Whereas in late developers this contradiction is caused by the mismatch between market economics and clientelistic political institutions, in consolidated democracies it is caused by economic policies of deregulation, accelerating capital and labor mobility, and economic globalization that disconnect markets from democratic control. The remedy in both cases is to embed markets more firmly in liberal, democratically accountable institutions. I analyze the details of this process by drawing on research on “late development” and what has recently been labeled “the middle-income trap.”




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