Reflecting on the year, NIAS Director Jan Willem Duyvendak noted that the year had been in a way characterised by the "normal".
"Here at NIAS, we actually love the “old normal”," he wrote in his preface to the recently published highlights of the academic year 2021/22. "I would never have thought to write that sentence." It is not necessary to be a full-fledged Foucauldian to be suspicious of anything or anybody that claims normalcy (the normal being perceived as repressive and disciplining). The ‘common’ and the ‘familiar’ are omnipresent in European political discourse practices, as one of this year’s theme groups on the politics of (de)familiarization has shown.
How then is it possible that we embrace the return of the normal as the most liberating experience of this year…?