The relationship between liberal-democracy, knowledge, and information is fraught with tensions. To thrive, democracies need ideas and information to flow freely and widely—and yet this also opens spaces for lies and fake news to proliferate. Running complex political systems requires specialised knowledge—but how do we ensure that experts remain socially accountable? Further, on whose expertise should democracy rely, faced with competing claims to knowledge, and rapidly evolving scientific frontiers? The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated all these tensions, and their disruptive potential, by bringing issues such as disinformation, distrust towards science, and ensuing polarisation to the fore of liberal-democratic politics. Today more than ever it is necessary to dissect the dilemmas at the intersection of knowledge, information, and democracy, and find pragmatic solutions to them for the years to come. In this public panel, virologist Ilaria Capua and political scientist Joshua Tucker will reflect on these questions from their standpoints as scholars, practitioners, and public intellectuals, and dialogue with the audience on how to best tackle the knowledge-information-democracy nexus in post-pandemic times.
Ilaria Capua, Professor and Director of the One Health Center of Excellence, University of Florida; former member of the Italian Parliament.
Joshua Tucker, Professor of Politics and Director of the Center for Social Media and Politics, New York University.
Moderator: Piero Tortola, University of Groningen.
This event inaugurates the Horizon Europe project REGROUP (Rebuilding Governance and Resilience out of the Pandemic – grant no. 101060825), led by Dr. Piero Tortola at the University of Groningen.