Internationale Graduiertenkonferenz “Democracy in Crisis – Critiques of Democracy” (Gießen)

Am 21. und 22. Juni lädt das Gießener Graduiertenzentrum Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften zu einer internationalen Tagung zum Thema ”Democracy in Crisis – Critiques of Democracy” ein, auf der- wie der Titel andeutet- Demokratie im Spannungsfeld zwischen Kritik und Krise ausgelotet werden soll. Das Programm zur Tagung findet ihr hier. Anmelden kann man sich noch bis zum 20. Juni. Die Details zur Anmeldung und weitere Informationen findet ihr nach dem Klick.
Democracy in Crisis – Critiques of Democracy

International Graduate Conference, June 21st and 22nd, 2012

International Graduate Conference
Gießener Graduiertenzentrum Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Justus Liebig University Giessen
June 21st and 22nd, 2012

Given the profound reverberations contemporary economic crises have had in established democracies, a new phase of post-democracy appears to have emerged, severely constraining processes of autonomous decision-making and traditional modes of contestation. At the same time, democracy as purportedly the best possible form of government has not lost its appeal, as is evidenced by the upheavals of the ‘Arab spring’, claiming regime change in favor of a fundamental democratization. Furthermore, these developments have intensified the hitherto forcefully suppressed migration crisis in the Schengen Area by amplifying migration processes across the Mediterranean and perturbing the EU’s various cooperative relations with its autocratic partners in North Africa. As a consequence, the EU’s self-conception as a ‘cosmopolitan’ democracy has once again come under strong criticism for its illiberal and exclusionary foundations. Migrants to the EU’s territory are claiming full rights of participation against the restrictive demand for integration, tying in with approaches to the development of more direct, participatory forms of democracy in increasingly pluralistic societies.

Against the backdrop of this volatile situation, the graduate conference “Democracy in Crisis – Critiques of Democracy” seeks to explore the idea of democracy between the poles of crisis and critique. If the term crisis is not equated with the imminent danger of catastrophe, but is rather understood as a decisive moment in a time of intense difficulty, then crisis opens up the possibility of a radical critique of democracy by unveiling and reflecting its very concept, its epistemological, ontological and normative foundations, its principles and institutions, as well as revealing its limits, contradictions and unredeemed promises.

Following the conference “Democracy & Resistance” (June 18th-20th, Gießen), which will inaugurate the Giessen Graduate Center for Social Science, Law, Business and Economy (GGS), this international graduate conference is intended to serve as a platform for PhD candidates and early stage postdoctoral researchers to present and discuss current research and work-in-progress. The main focus of the conference will include the following thematic fields, which will be addressed from normative perspectives, including theories of poststructuralism, feminism and postcolonialism, as well as empirically, by drawing on case studies and field research:

Democracy & Revolution
What is the relationship between democracy, resistance, violence and a revolutionary ‘new beginning’? Does the constitution of freedom depend on the desire for and experience of self-liberation in emancipatory struggles? Where is the line drawn between emancipatory and reactionary resistance? How can democratic postcolonial/-autocratic citizenship be created? These are the questions which will be addressed from both a conceptual perspective, drawing on different theories of the political, as well as from a historically grounded perspective from the Haitian Revolution to the global protests from Puerta del Sol to Occupy Wall Street.

Democracy & Economy
Effects of the economic dept crisis have shown shortcomings in the concept of the democratic claim of the EU, which seems to be at a turning point without clear result. The dept crisis revealed the defects of oversight agencies which should control markets and challenge the belief in this form of ‘impartial’ control. More public spaces may be needed to distribute political equality between all citizens and this can imply a challenge to the privatization of resources. As the existing democratic-economic system displayed its failures, the basic concepts underlying the system need to be discussed anew.

Democracy & Participation

This panel will address questions of participation in democratic societies increasingly affected by migration and further processes of pluralization. Participation as a valuable means of social and personal emancipation requires the conceptualization of more active and inclusive forms of citizenship, possibly against the notion of the realization of democracy in a discursive consensus. A ‚cosmopolitan‘ democracy in this realm, however, might better be rooted in the local level of ‚urban‘ citizenship rather than the national level. With regard to participatory and emancipatory potential, inclusionary or exclusionary spaces of democratic regimes thus need careful consideration.

Conference Registration

If you wish to participate in the International Graduate Conference “Democracy in Crisis – Critiques of Democracy”, please register via email until June 20th with your name and your institutional affiliation.

Please also indicate if you wish to participate in the conference dinner and if you are in need of an invitation letter.

Participation at the Graduate Conference is free of charge.

Please note that costs for travel, room and board cannot be covered by the Conference Organizers.

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