CfP: Imagining Democracy (Groningen)

Am 28. und 29. November findet in Groningen (Niederlande) eine Konferenz mit dem Titel „Imagining Democracy“, die sich mit unterschiedlichen Demokratieverständnissen/-entwicklungen im asiatischen, arabischen und westlichen Raum auseianndersetzen soll. Sicher auch ein Thema, an dem Politische Theoretiker Interesse haben. Wer sich angesprochen fühlt, kann bis zum 14. September einen Abstract als Bewerbung an senden. Alle Infos im unten stehenden Call.


Call for Papers: Imagining Democracy: Arab Spring, Asian Visions and Western Lessons

November 2012

The Netherlands

The recent Arab revolts brought about a period of dramatic political transformation
across the Middle East and North Africa. It resulted in some (supposedly
stable) dictatorial regimes crumbling in the face of popular protests, whilst
other regimes desperately hang onto power through promises of democratic
reforms. The choices and dilemmas of rapid democratic change have underlined
the urgency to revisit our understandings of democracy, its relations to the
socio-economic order of societies, and the implications for contemporary
international affairs. The Arab Spring does not only pose challenges to the
existing political and economic order in the region and the world, but also
raises serious questions about how we imagine democracy. For the last two
decades, many Western scholars have adhered to a solely liberal capitalist
image of democracy, and in the West, this model of democracy (and its
promotion) seems to have become an end in itself. Yet, this Western approach to
democracy leaves some fundamental problems unresolved, like for example
tensions regarding the nature of representation, the boundary problem as well
as the potential tyranny of the majority – to name but a few. Furthermore, it
is not at all clear that liberal democracy can live up to the claims made on
its behalf, or that it can and should be exported to other parts of the world.
This makes it all the more urgent to look at alternative conceptions and
imaginations of democracy.

For this reason, this conference is looking towards the Middle Eastern and North
African (MENA) region as well as towards Asian experiences of democracy. We wish
to explore the parallels and differences between these alternative models of
governance, including issues such as: the complex relation between
collective/cultural/religious rights versus individualist rights, the difficult
relation between the market and governance, as well as the different forms of
authoritarianism and democratic governance. Hence, focusing on Middle Eastern,
North African and Asian perspectives on democratic thought and practices, this
conference will address, but is not limited to, the following questions:

–          How should we imagine democracy? What are its
proper forms and institutions? Can there be “proper” forms and institutions?
–          What are the arguments against dominant democratic
theories and practices?
–          What are the different visions on democracy
within the MENA region amongst the different actors?
–          What are the different visions on democracy
within Asia amongst its different actors?
–          What is the influence of Asian governments on
democratic developments in the other regions – and vice versa?
–          What are the impacts of American and European
democracy promotion on images and imaginations of democracy in the MENA region
and Asia?
–          What can Western conceptions and practices of
democracy learn from Asian and Middle Eastern and North African experiences and

Conference Registration Fee:
75€ (academics and others in full-time employment), 50€ (students). The
registration fee covers lunch, tea/coffee and conference meals.

Please submit your abstracts (max. 300 words) prior to 14 September 2012 to We are unable to cover the cost of transport
or accommodation. However, we might be able to assist participants in securing
accommodation at reasonable rates near the conference venue.

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