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Liberalism has been much maligned in the last decade for its failure to provide people with a sense of collective identity and meaning. But for many people, liberal ideas themselves provide this meaning. In this interdisciplinary exchange, two books are discussed that, respectively, explore the extraordinary rise of nativism in liberal societies, and the possibilities for revivifying liberal ideals in a changing world.

Event details of Book Launch: Promises and Pitfalls of Liberalism
Date 29 March 2023
Time 20:00 -21:30
Location Spui 25 - 27
Room Hybrid event: Spui 25 and online

The event begins with a short introduction of The Return of the Native: Can Liberalism Safeguard Us Against Nativism? (Duyvendak & Kesic, with Stacey 2023) by one of its authors, Josip Kesic. This introduction is followed by two discussants and a response from Jan Willem Duyvendak. The Return of the Native explores the extraordinary rise of nativism in liberal settings, paying particular attention to nativist narratives that intertwine islamophobia, racism, populism and nostalgia.

Timothy Stacey will then introduce his Saving Liberalism From Itself: The Spirit of Political Participation (2022). Stacey suggests that responding to populism requires carefully attending to the meaning-making practices of liberally oriented people living in Western societies. By way of beginning this work, he explores the myths, rituals, magic, and traditions people draw on as they seek to build solidarity in diverse settings. Stacey's presentation is followed by two discussants and a general discussion with the public.


  • Matthijs Rooduijn (political science)
  • Irene Stengs (anthropology) 
  • Tamar de Waal (law) 
  • Yolande Jansen (philosophy)

About the authors

Jan Willem Duyvendak is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Since 2018, he is also director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIAS-KNAW). In 2021, he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and in 2022 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Josip Kesic is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES), University of Amsterdam, where he currently finishes his doctoral research European Peripheries: continuities, commonalities and conflicts in cultural stereotyping of Spain and the South-Slavic region. He also works as a researcher and lecturer at the Inholland University of Applied Sciences. Besides political nativism, his interests include cultural nationalism and imagology.

Timothy Stacey is Researcher and Lecturer at the Urban Futures Studio, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, Canada.

  • Follow this link to read more about The Return of the Native
  • Discount code: With the code 10SPUI25 you can get a 10% discount on The Return of the Native and Saving Liberalism from Itself at
Spui 25 - 27

Room Hybrid event: Spui 25 and online

Spui 25-27
1012 WX Amsterdam