Read more

2 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Paul Sagar. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Paul Sagar, often where they are interviewed.

Read more

2 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Paul Sagar. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Paul Sagar, often where they are interviewed.

Updated daily with the latest episodes

Fukuyama on Liberalism, Dignity and Identity: In Conversation with Humeira Iqtidar and Paul Sagar

The Governance Podcast
Episode artwork
Read more
Where are the fault lines in the modern liberal project? In this episode of the Governance Podcast, Dr Humeira Iqtidar and Dr Paul Sagar of King's College London tackle this question in a dialogue on Francis Fukuyama's new book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. 
Subscribe on iTunes and Spotify

Subscribe to the Governance Podcast on iTunes and Spotify today and get all our latest episodes directly in your pocket.

Follow Us

For more information about our upcoming podcasts and events, follow us on facebook, twitter or instagram (@csgskcl).

The Guests

Dr Humeira Iqtidar joined King's College London in 2011. She has studied at the University of Cambridge, McGill University in Canada and Quaid-e-Azam University in Pakistan. Before joining King's, Humeira was based at the University of Cambridge as a fellow of King’s College and the Centre of South Asian Studies. She is a co-convenor of the London Comparative Political Theory Workshop. Humeira’s research explores the shifting demarcations of state, market and society in political imagination, and their relationship with Islamic thought and practice. Her current research focuses on non-liberal conceptions of tolerance. Her research has featured in interviews and articles in The Guardian, BBC World Service, Voice of AmericaDer SpiegelSocial Science Research Council OnlineThe DawnExpress Tribune and Open Democracy

Dr Paul Sagar is a lecturer in political theory at King's College London. His recent monograph, The Opinion of Mankind: Sociability and the State from Hobbes to Smith, explores Enlightenment accounts of the foundations of modern politics, whilst also addressing contemporary issues regarding how to conceive of the state, and what that means for normative political theory today. He has also published a number of studies on topics such as: the political writings of Bernard Williams, so-called ‘realist’ approaches to political philosophy, the nature of liberty under conditions of modernity, and the idea of immortality. Paul is currently in the early stages of two major new projects. The first is a monograph study of Adam Smith’s political philosophy as rooted in his conceptions of history and commercial society. The second is an exploration of the idea of the enemy in the history of political thought. 

Skip Ahead

0:55: Where do we see this book in Fukuyama's larger oeuvre? 

3:39: You can see Hegel's influence more in his previous work, more in terms of a teleological thrust through history, and the metaphysics in Hegel... I really understand to be a kind of battle of ideas. And Fukuyama takes that on, and his argument is more that if we are thinking about ideas that will triumph, then liberal democracy is the best idea.

8:55: I think what Fukuyama wants to say in this Identity book is, the same threats to the last man at the end of history, which is the desire for recognition, will overwhelm contentment with stability. Because even if liberal democracy... would provide all the comforts of life... and solve the economic questions, which we know now that it hasn't... but even back then Fukuyama thought that even if it does that, it will not solve the recognition problem, and if they don't get that recognition, they will break things, they will smash things.

11:14: I actually find the narrative that he tells pretty plausible. The idea that we exist not just with the desire for recognition, but a desire that each of us has an authentic self, an authentic identity, which may be at odds with wider society, and that society itself may be a structural mechanism of oppression. 

13:29: His account of the failure of multiculturalism, which... he doesn't actually spell it out in so many words... but he lays the blame on a certain kind of identity politics at the doorstep of the left. What is interesting is... I think there is a problem with thinking of it only as a left failure, partly because the left remains undifferentiated in his thinking.

16:30: I actually think that a huge missing part of the story is... I hate using this term, but the rise of neoliberalism- that what's often labeled as left wing identity politics is much, much more indebted to the intellectual victories of the right. What I mean by that is the rise of the view of the world that everything is about individual choice, every individual is a sovereign consumer who floats through the world unencumbered by structures, making market choices. 

19:02: Neoliberalism moves much more strongly towards freedom... or a particular understand of freedom which is entirely unburdened by a relationship to equality... and therefore to the economy and the state. It just becomes this abstract idea. 

23:40: If we take out Marx, who does try to bring together ideas and structures in a very kind of comprehensive way, we may disagree with his approach but it's an ambitious one and that's partly why I think he has traction today. But one of the problems we do have in the history of political thought is that the relationship between institutions and ideas is unclear. 

29:12: The entire narrative of the enlightenment as some kind of rejection of religion is just deeply deeply implausible... If you take almost all of the major Enlightenment figures, many of them were pious Christians.... the falling of religion in Europe is, if anything, a twentieth century phenomenon. 

37:47: There's this culture of Republicans and Democrats, top level politicians, who've perpetrated these wars for decades but of course, their class has not suffered the consequences of any of this. That area of identity, that sense of American betrayal, doesn't seem to get as much of a look in. And again it is very odd to point to America as an example of successful integration when you still have the persistence of these enormous racial divides which cut across the left-right spectrum in all sorts of complex ways. 

Jan 27 2020



Paul Sagar on Scepticism about Philosophy

Philosophy Bites
Episode artwork
Read more

Throughout its history there have been challenges to the status of philosophy. Paul Sagar discusses some of these in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

We are grateful for support from the Marc Sanders Foundation in making this podcast, and for donations from Patreon patrons. 

Nov 27 2018