Julian Kuttig

Julian Kuttig
Ghent University | UGhent · Department of Conflict and Development Studies

PhD

About

12
Publications
1,800
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Introduction
Julian's research interests lie at the intersection of the production of public authority, processes of order-making and (political) violence. In his PhD dissertation, Julian explores the everyday negotation of public order in urban Bangladesh, studying the mechanisms and everyday practices of party politics in Rajshahi city. He is particularly interested in the nexus between patronage structures and political subjectivities. Keywords: Bangladesh, (political) violence, patronage politics, performative politics, political subjectivity, student politics, strongmen politics.
Education
September 2012 - September 2013
SOAS, University of London
Field of study
  • International Studies and Diplomacy
September 2008 - June 2012
Universität Erfurt
Field of study
  • Staatswissenchaften

Publications

Publications (12)
Chapter
Violence in Bangladesh’s student politics is complex and closely connected to political party contestations and shifting power relations. When Tarikul Islam Tarek, a non-partisan student from Rajshahi University and joint convener of the quota reform movement, was severely beaten by the ruling party’s student wing, in what is known as the ‘hammer i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This essay discusses how disinformation and uncertainty result in epistemological crises in violent contexts. It examines the challenges of (dis)information in masking the knowledge of war and violence and disorienting actors working to end the conflict. The essay discusses three layers where (dis)information challenges both observers and participa...
Presentation
Full-text available
Course Syllabus: Populism Conceptual Possibilities and Limitations. (2021/2022)
Chapter
Full-text available
Authoritarianism in Bangladesh has been on the rise in the past decade. The Awami League government has systematically narrowed the corridor for free speech and critical journalism. Simultaneously, grassroots and DIY online news portals have been burgeoning in localities across the country, complementing Bangladesh’s hybrid media system. They appea...
Presentation
Full-text available
Syllabus: Part of the Master’s Program in Global Studies (Ghent University, 20/21)
Article
Full-text available
Party-political posters, banners and hoardings mark the everyday urban landscape of Bangladesh. They have become pervasive visual and material expressions of everyday politics in an environment where ‘visibility means everything’. This article seeks to understand local politics and power dynamics in Bangladesh through party-political posters while...
Article
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this article focuses on how public order and authority is produced in ‘middle Bangladesh’ by investigating the political emergence and political persona of a bus labour federation (BLF) leader in Rajshahi city. The BLF is an important source for ‘muscle’ and ‘money’ power and is commonly denoted as ‘labour...
Book
Full-text available
Student groups play an important role in Bangladesh. Not only have student groups often been at the vanguard of crucial struggles – like the Language Movement (1947-1952), the Independence movement (1969-71) and the pro-democracy movement (1989-91) – but many contemporary politicians also have roots in student organizations. Student organizations a...
Article
In Bangladeshi student politics, political performances in public spaces play an essential role in establishing patronage relationships and determining local authority structures. As Thomas Blom Hansen has famously argued, “visibility means everything” in such a context. With the emergence of social networking sites like Facebook, new digital publi...
Article
In response to the mostly Dhaka-centered research on student politics in Bangladesh, this article aims to understand political competition, the role of patronage networks, political organizations, violence, and student organizations in the provincial city of Rajshahi. The article explores how student politics in Bangladesh shapes (and is shaped by)...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Populism has become a buzzword in popular and media discourses in recent years. Academic debates on the concept of populism—what it is and isn't, where to look for it, and its normative prescription—have been highly contested. A considerable but disparate field of study has emerged from minimal definitions to vernacular descriptions to propositions to drop the concept altogether. This essay series attempts to critically explore the concept's possibilities and limitations to find a common language for similar phenomena in disparate contexts. Starting from the discipline of critical conflict studies, the essays intend to transcend colonial constructions of differentiation by bridging the still prevailing Global South/North divide in academic literature while simultaneously considering context specificity and uncovering populist vernaculars. The genealogy of populism studies can be subdivided into four waves of scholarship. The earliest originated in a conference attended by a multidisciplinary cohort of primarily European scholars in 1967 at the London School of Economics, with the conference proceedings published in an edited volume (Ionescu and Gellner 1969). Those early scholars addressed the rise of a “global populism”—a variety of disparate phenomena—primarily in what they considered "pre-modern states" located in Africa, Asia, and then communist Eastern Europe (Pappas 2016). The second (1970s-1980s) and third wave (1980s-1990s) concentrated specifically on political developments in Latin America. The former group (e.g., Di Tella 1965; Germani 1978) sought to understand the socio-economic determinants of mass political movements and the structural conditions under which lower classes entered the political community through populist movements in post-war decades and times of import substitution industrialization. The latter scholars (e.g., Roberts 1995; Weyland 1999) described a new "breed" of populist politicians who were able to implement neoliberal policies while simultaneously maintaining remarkably high levels of popular support: neo-populism. However, both waves remained largely confined to the specific spatio-temporal context and socio-economic realities of Latin America. In the fourth wave (1990s-today), the study of populism has been growing exponentially, effectively making it a modern buzzword. Initially, this renewed interest in populism was largely based on the idea that a powerful populist zeitgeist has been challenging Western democracies (e.g., Mudde 2004). As a consequence, populism has been increasingly studied in its relationship to representative politics (e.g., Canovan 1999; Taggart 2002), radical democracy (Laclau 2005), and political liberalism (e.g., Pappas 2019). More recently, the study of populism has gone global. Cases such as Duterte's authoritarian "penal populism" in the Philippines (Curato 2016, 2017) or Modi's "Hindu-nationalist populism" in India (Chatterji, Angana, Hansen, and Jaffrelot 2019) are just the most prominent examples in a growing list of disparate types of populism uncovered in various parts of the world, which led some scholars (e.g., Moffitt 2016) to announce a renewed "rise of global populism". Although there is no agreement over a common definition of populism among scholars, there is minimal overlap in its described characteristics. Populism then appears in the guise of a (thin-centred) ideology (Mudde 2004), discourse (Hawkins 2009), or style (Moffitt 2016) that pits a whatsoever constructed notion of "the pure people" against an equally vaguely constructed "corrupted elite". Other key elements are the notion of a volonté générale (will of the people), social homogenization, polarization, and charismatic leadership. Overall, however, the quest to consistently conceptualize populism has not made much headway since the early attempts by the pioneering scholars in the late 1970s, which has led some scholars (e.g., Art 2020) to question the analytical value of the concept altogether. Two key points of contention are a) whether the concept of populism offers an added value in relation to other concepts such as authoritarianism, nativism, or nationalism and b) whether its normative indeterminacy emphasizes redeeming qualities of such ideological or discursive regimes. However, both of these caveats may also be an expression of the concept’s strength. Approaching populism as a distinct but contextualized phenomenon that can appear in combination with disparate political regimes and ideologies allows for the blurring of the Global North/South divide. A line, as William Mazzarella (2019, 48) suggests, "that was [...] always more ideological than empirical" and that populisms "markedly illiberal practices that were popularly supposed to be signs of the Global South’s liberal lag (i.e., residual savagery) are now explicitly acknowledged as ordinary political currency in the centers of the Global North." Regarding the question of normative valuation of populism, the very vague notion of a generic and normative liberalism—generally perceived by postcolonial and critical scholars as a (neo-)colonial instrument, serving as a "critical foil against which the nonliberal (illiberal? postliberal?) practices" or life-worlds of people in the Global South are measured—appears to be the basis of normative considerations. Thus, an approach that refrains from taking the liberal shorthand as a basis for normative conceptualisations of populism may thus enable a common terminology or academic language—tearing down fictional, ideological and repressive walls—and enable a productive conversation across cases in the Global South and North. While the study of populism has become a common currency in the political sciences, the essays in this series contribute to the debate on populism from the multidisciplinary perspective of critical conflict studies. Starting from this premise, the diverse essays aim to showcase vernacular forms of populism both in the Global South and North, which may appear as both pathology or remedy of distressed democracies as well as in opposition to or in consolidation with authoritarian regimes, facilitating a critical engagement with populism and pondering over its complicated relationship with (il)liberalism.