Slow Politics - What Europe Needs in the Age of Crisis

International Conference with the participation of Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini in Track 1

All of the crises haunting Europe today – be it “Lampedusa” or “NSA-Gate” – indicate one major problem: our governments’ democratic instruments are paralyzed by perpetual turbulence and hence unable to deal properly with the ensuing grievances. What now? It is necessary to reinvent democracy! In this challenging moment citizen movements act as laboratories of the future.


The Slow Politics conference (November 13-15) looks at the plurality of citizen movements as a greater whole and sets out to detect hidden commonalities: Only by connecting the dots does it become possible to create a counterforce to the acceleration of crises. In that sense “slow politics” is our motto for taking a bird’s eye point of view. From this decelerated perspective the conference explores the larger democratic project underlying various grassroots efforts: to empower people as political actors who are able to tackle the uncertainties caused by the manifold crises.


Slow Politics investigates perspectives for a precarious generation that is deeply concerned about its liberties, privileges and rights: What happens to free access to culture and knowledge if public institutions continue crumbling? How can we practice transparency if secret services are booming beyond public control? How can a mobile society restore its inner peace if migrants are always “the others”? How can we save the environment if consumerism and economics remain rampant? How can a communal feeling arise in Europe if national self-interests prevail?

 What is the common denominator linking all these issues?


Slow Politics is dealing with these future concerns in five tracks, that is: 1) The Big We, 2) After NSA-Gate, 3) We Are All Migrants, 4) Bitcoin Meets Blue Marble and 5) Publics in Peril. Five parallel workshops take place on the first two days. A limited number of participants can register by contacting the following E-mail The third day, November 15, is open to the general public. Starting at 2 p.m., it offers five panels with prolific speakers including discussions. No registration is required. Admission is free.

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Program PDF




With Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini:

Track 1 | *The Big We* 

Austerity policies foster an unprecedented age of crisis in Europe. They
shrink economies of entire countries and "expel ever larger groups from
the official economy" (Saskia Sassen). Paradoxically one can detect a
new sense of community right there in the hot spots. In the survival
economies of the expelled and in the social movements which emerge
during the crisis, new approaches are being tested – not only to economy
and democracy, but also to coexistence and solidarity. In that sense the
age of crisis in Europe is also an age of social innovation. People come
together, experiment with unconventional forms of colaboration and
bundle their energies in seminal networks. Here they seek answers to
problems caused by the crisis and in doing so they create new forms of
the Big We. Which forms of social networking enable this? What kind of
connections do the actors cultivate? Which interests do they have in
common? Which problems do they solve? Which potentials of networking
remain dormant?

*Public Talk* | "The Big We" | November 15 | 2 p.m.
With Marina Sitrin (City University of New York) & Felix Stalder
(Zurcher Hochschule der Künste). Moderation: Zlata Veselinovic (Zagreb).
No registration is required. Admission is free.

*Workshop* | "The Big We" |  November 13 & 14
The workshop analyses and maps emerging social networks as an
inspiration and as a source of strength for the Big We in Europe. The
guests of this workshop develop a cartography of relations among the
more than 100 representatives of initiatives that are present at Slow
Politics: How do they relate to each other, to national politics and to
other forces in Europe? In the course of this, a visualization of
relationships will be produced in the form of a dynamic map of Europe.

The guests are Dario Azzellini (Johannes Kepler Universität), Tabea
Grzeszyk (, Olga Melgoui (, Katerina
Mishchenko (Medusa), Victor Nitu (, Sibylle Peters
(, Florian Schmitz (, Luisa Maria
Schweizer (, Marina Sitrin (CUNY), Vera Tollmann
(Universität Lüneburg), Elena Veljanovska (kontrapunkt), Zlata
Veselinovic (University of Zagreb). The moderators are Christopher Senf
( and Adriana Homolova (Onderzoeksredactie).

Registration: The workshop targets activists, journalists and
researchers. On November 13 and 14 the workshop takes place from 10 a.m.
to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, November 15, when the (preliminary) results
are presented, from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. A limited number of participants
can register through November 10 by contacting the following E-mail: The registration fee is 30 Euros for
three days, including catering.

SLOW POLITICS is a project by Berliner Gazette and is funded by German
Federal Agency for Civic Education, Hertie Foundation and ZEIT-Stiftung.
Sponsors are Streampark TV, TAB Ticketbroker and Webmagazin. Partners
are Bündnis Bürgerenergie e.V., Exberliner, Heinrich-Böll-Foundation,
Institut für Kommunikation in Sozialen Medien, KnightMozilla OpenNews,
Sapporo Media Arts Lab, Social Impact and ThoughtWorks Werkstatt Berlin.


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