Facing Everybody: Political Popularization and Populism in Post-universalist Times

49th Käte Hamburger Lecture

Tuesday, 14th February 2023 | 18:00–19:30 CET

Online Event

Political, public life needs presentation and exposition in order to live, to be able to engage in discussion and conflict and to initiate further political action. In today’s world, images and visual stagings often take on the role of creating presence, mediating, setting counter-positions and expressing political imagination in a variety of ways. In this context, showing faces and bodies is particularly important in addressing the widest possible audience. In tension with this role of visual creations, which always link the universal and the particular in a unique and new way, is the fact that the universal has not had an easy time of it since around the 1960s. It is deconstructed, accused of legitimising forms of power and domination of various kinds and of imposing views as it were by force. The particular, even the singular, is placed in the foreground or even celebrated.

The lecture presented a genealogy and iconology of visual presentations that attempt to address “everyone”. Long lines of tradition as well as ruptures and transformations were presented. Special attention was paid to the role of visual representations in contemporary society. This is characterised by the multiplication of political agents of image use and distribution, for example on new social networks and populist political parties, in which certain particular-universal constructs of the people are brought to bear against an elite. Images and visual presentations come into view as media for generating resonance and conveying desire and hatred.

Anna Schober is Professor for Visual Culture at Klagenfurt University. She studied history, art history and political theory in Vienna, Frankfurt am Main and Colchester/UK. She was a fellow at various scientific institutions such as the IFK (International Research Centre for Cultural Studies) Vienna; the Centre for Theoretical Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester; the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, the Kuenstlerhaus Buechsenhausen in Innsbruck, Visiting Professor at the University of Verona and Mercator Visiting Professor at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Giessen. Main Publications are: Ironie, Montage, Verfremdung: Aesthetische Taktiken und die politische Gestalt der Demokratie (2009), The Cinema Makers: Public life and the exhibition of difference in south-eastern and central Europe since the 1960s (2013) and Popularisation and Populism in the Visual Arts: Attraction Images, London and New York: Routledge (Arts and Visual Culture Series) 2019 (editor). |  Profile page (Universität Klagenfurt)

Schedule of this event

1800 CET


Prof. Dr. Lauren Eastwood

1810 - 1900

49th Käte Hamburger Lecture

Facing Everybody: Political Popularization and Populism in Post-universalist Times

Prof. Dr Anna Schober-De Graaf, Universität Klagenfurt

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Lauren Eastwood, KHK/GCR21

Discussant: Prof. Dr Nicole Doerr, University of Copenhagen

1900 - 1930

Q&A with the audience


Final remarks and end of event

Figures of the ‘Everybody’

In a workshop arranged at short notice and taking place prior to the lecture, Profs Anna Schober and Nicole Doerr will have a disucssion with a group of current fellows at the Centre. The focus of this discussion will be this article by Anna Schober, published in Redescriptions, a journal for Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory:

Schober, A., 2021. Mediators of Public Resonance: Cinematic Reflections on the Role of Iconic Figures of the ‘Everybody’ in Populist Political Processes

Related publication

This book investigates the pictorial figurations, aesthetic styles and visual tactics through which visual art and popular culture attempt to appeal to "all of us". One key figure these practices bring into play—the "everybody" (which stands for "all of us" and is sometimes a "new man" or a "new woman")—is discussed in an interdisciplinary way involving scholars from several European countries.