Power, Personality & Populism – Thursday, 10 June 2021

A half-day interdisciplinary online conference addressing our theme of ‘Power, Personality & Populism’ under three headings. Each will be introduced by a guest speaker before the topic is opened for discussion. The conference will end with a plenary panel discussion drawing together threads from the day’s proceedings. 

Our themes and speakers are:

Insights from the Media:

Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University and author of ‘This is Not Propaganda’,

Gillian Tett, Author and Editor of the Financial Times

Insights from Psychiatry:

Dr Quinton Deeley, Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings’ College London.

Insights from History:

Eli Zaretsky, Professor of History at the New School for Social Research, NYC.

Western and wider global politics is marked by an intensifying rhetoric of conflict and division between groups in the context of new media. Within this context politicians ready to violate convention and amplify division have thrived, effacing notions of public civility and consensus. This raises the question of whether the new media environment favours particular personality types in politicians –  those unrestrained by norms. In the mix are undisclosed interest groups who steer messaging to millions of people.

This conference explores the symbiotic relationships between personality and media in the new politics, gaining insights from leading figures in media, psychiatry, and history. In the ‘media’ section we will be examining ‘populism, disruptors and the death of the liberal consensus’. The psychiatrists will explore narcissism and psychopathy in public life and, amongst the historical questions, we will ask if we have been here before (for example during the 1930s), and what are the possible paths towards greater civic health?

The conference is organised by the Maudsley Philosophy Group Trust (MPG)


Thursday, 10th June 2021, 13.30 – 18.00 via MS Teams

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