Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) News

NIAS Expert Workshop - The Normal and the Weird. Politics and Cultures of (Ab)normality in Contemporary Europe

When:We 11-05-2022 10:00 - 18:00
Where:NIAS (Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, Amsterdam) & Online

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Amsterdam

Presented by NIAS Amsterdam, ICOG Groningen and ASCA Amsterdam

Idea(l)s of cultural normality and constructions of the abnormal, the weird, and the deviant have always been elements of political power struggles as well as objects of cultural controversies. In today’s Europe, they have become more virulent, but also more ambivalent in many contexts: populist radical right parties and nativist movements appeal to cultural normativity and ‘a common sense Europe’ for the ‘common people’, but also present themselves as national ‘defenders’ against Europe and as ‘alternatives’ to the ‘mainstream’. Crisis- and pandemic-ridden governments promise a ‘new normal’ that will mend the social fabric, but struggle to resolve the latent conflict between ‘newness’ and normality. The contradictions inherent to these and other constructions of (ab)normality are addressed by new forms of political protest and artistic activism, which, in turn, cause new controversies about limitations of the ‘sayable’.

In this NIAS expert workshop, organized by the Theme Group The Politics of (De)familiarization, cultural scholars, political and social scientists, philosophers and cultural practitioners investigate the shifting ground of normalcy, normativity, abnormality, weirdness, and deviance in Europe’s current cultural and political landscapes, and discuss them with the public. How is the (ab)normal constructed and experienced within the current neoliberal governmentality in Europe, and which (new) approaches to the shifting ground of the normal can we articulate as scholars, activists, or artists in order to understand the current conjuncture and respond to it.


Audience: Online access is free for interested scholars and students; if you want to attend, it is mandatory to register here before May 9th.

Onsite participation in Korte Spinhuissteeg 3 is also possible (registration is required as well for onsite participation). Please note that space is limited, and onsite priority will be given to members of NIAS, ICOG Groningen, and ASCA Amsterdam. If you would like to participate onsite, please indicate this during registration.