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CFP : International Conference on Challenging Citizenship, Portugal, 2011

vendredi 15 octobre 2010

Call for Papers :

International Conference

Challenging Citizenship

Organization : Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra, Portugal

When ? June 3–4, 2011

Where ? Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra

Language : English, with simultaneous translation into Portuguese

Conference website :

Confirmed invited speakers :

· James Tully, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada – Keynote

· Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra, Portugal

· Duncan Ivison, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

· João Cardoso Rosas, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

· Makau Mutua, SUNY, Buffalo, USA

· Rainer Bauböck, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

· Rajeev Bhargava, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, India

· Roberto Gargarella, University Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina

· Simone Chambers, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


The conference includes, first, plenary sessions where invited speakers will address issues regarding the foundation, justification, scope, and practice of citizenship. Secondly, we invite abstract submissions for a number of panels on the more specific themes outlined below. The invited speakers will serve as discussants for the papers presented in the panels. Contributions from both social scientists and practitioners are welcome.


All democracies – old and new – are undergoing continuous, unforeseen transformations that strain the institutions’ capacity to represent the demos. Forced and voluntary movements across borders, minority recognition claims, historical injustices, economic inequalities, and gendered inequities constitute solid grounds for contesting traditional conceptions of citizenship. Given the fact of pluralism in contemporary societies, a question naturally arises : how can we re–think practices of citizenship in a way that does justice to the increasingly complex circumstances of democratic politics ? The conference seeks to reflect on this question by bringing together participants from both the North and the South. Through these dialogical, interdisciplinary encounters, we hope to shed light on the non–ideal conditions for effectively exercising citizenship today. More specifically, we invite papers that fall within one or more of the following three themes :

(1) Struggles for recognition and justice

First, we invite reflections on struggles for recognition and justice by previously disenfranchised groups. While the resistance of indigenous peoples to dispossession and usurpation naturally invites academic inquiry, this conference extends the scope of attention to other groups excluded from full political membership. Ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities all over the world face systemic forms of discrimination that leave them politically disenfranchised. In this context, we have to ask ourselves : How should we understand citizenship if the ultimate goal is to critically engage patterns of institutional misrecognition ? And how can we reform norms and processes of constitution–making so that they allow for a continuous rectification of recalcitrant injustices ? The inclusion of a variety of counter-hegemonic positions is necessary for a meaningful debate around democratic citizenship. Research on actual instances of legal pluralism and on alternative modes of constitution-making can open the path for institutional innovation.

(2) New dimensions of political freedom

A second set of questions has to do with new dimensions of political freedom. Nowadays, we are witnessing the return of imperialism in various manifestations. When the sovereignty of the state is contested, political freedom comes under threat. At the same time, opportunities for radical transformation and emancipation emerge. Under these circumstances, how can we conceive of political freedom such that it furthers the cause of those excluded from full membership ? And in what novel ways can citizens make use of it so as to challenge ingrained legal, political and social norms ? Attention to participatory and deliberative practices in the real world, and particularly in the global South, can enrich the mainstream liberal account of democratic citizenship. Participatory budgeting and citizens’ deliberations over health-care provision are just two examples that show how theory needs to remain attuned to the plurality of existing practices.

(3) Non-ideal theory for non-ideal circumstances ?

Last but not least, the position of the political theorist as citizen and expert needs to be scrutinized. Given the complexity of citizenship today, what should be the tasks of the political theorist in the public sphere ? How can he/she legitimately fulfil a critical mission without undermining the egalitarianism of democratic citizenship ? First, we propose that bridging the gap between abstract theorizing and empirical research is imperative for responsible interventions in deliberative processes. Yet, how this imperative can be achieved remains a matter of contention. Therefore, the conference welcomes contributions addressing the proper balance between description, explanation and prescription in political theory. Second, we argue that epistemic justice is a precondition for political justice. Involving alternative ecologies of knowledge is normatively required by the commitment to equality.

Guidelines for abstract submission

Abstract proposals should be between 300 and 500 words in length. Preferred format for all submissions is RTF or Microsoft Word (doc). Please send your proposals – including your contact information – as attachments to and insert “Challenging Citizenship 2011 Submission” as the subject line of the message. The deadline for abstracts is December 31, 2010. All proposals will undergo peer review and notifications of acceptance will be sent out by January 31, 2011.

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