CfP: MANCEPT Workshops 2017

Die MANCEPT-Workshops in Manchester gehen in eine neue Runde und finden dieses Jahr vom 11. bis 13. September statt. Einen Überblick über die Panels gibt es auf der Webseite der Konferenz, hier wollen wir gesondert noch auf zwei CfPs hinweisen, die uns erreicht haben.

Digitalisation and the Future of  Democratic Theory (pdf)
Karoline Helbig, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg (
Alexander Weiß, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg (

The development of digital technologies bears an increasing influence on society, and especially on political processes and democracy. Among the political spheres under transformation caused by digitalisation are – on the one hand – empirical issues, such as administrations, political campaigning, governance and participation. On the other hand, normative concepts of democratic theory like legitimacy, equality, or citizenship need to be revised or even substituted. This double-transformation puts the different democratic theories under different forms of pressure to adapt. These developments require attention of the social sciences and democratic theory. So far, analyses have been mainly of an empirical or prognostic nature, and democratic theory has started to react to these analyses (cf. Philip Pettit, David Runciman). However, systematic and comparative perspectives on how different democratic theories are affected by digitalisation, and particularly which concepts or norms are under pressure are still wanting. In order to address this gap, we propose a debate in political theory concerning the influence of digitalization on democracy, and more specifically democratic theory.

Thus, we propose contrasting digitalisation with democratic theories in a comparative perspective as a framework for the workshop. On the one hand, digitalisation influences democracy. That concerns not only the different spheres of democracy (public sphere, governance, policy fields, etc.), but also how practical politics react to those developments. The critical question is, whether these changes are still explicable by democratic theories (such as liberal, republican, deliberative, radical, economic, etc.) or whether some of the changes cannot be considered within those frameworks anymore. Since most of the theories have been developed before the impact of digitalisation was fully conceivable, adjustments to what the digitalisation causes in policies are necessary.

The questions to be addressed in the workshop include, but are not limited to: How does digitalisation influence democracy? Which spheres of democracy (public sphere, governance, etc.) are affected? In what way can different democratic theories relate to these changes? For example, does communication in the public sphere leave the framework of most democratic theories? Do concepts like legitimacy or representation have to be transformed because of changes in public reasoning or participation modes? Is lowering the normative expectations a good way to react to the new realities? What amendments have to be considered for these theories? Which democratic theory is particularly under pressure and which is able to preserve its norms? We invite submissions on these and related topics.

A publication is planned in accordance with the results of the panel.
Please send your proposal (no more than 500 words) until 14th of May 2016 to alexander.weiss@hsuhh.
de and
Please note that participants are expected to register and pay this year’s fees of £230.00 for academics
and £135.00 for graduate students and retirees. It is possible for current graduate students/retirees to
apply for a bursary. The deadline for bursary applications will be the 16th June, and successful
applicants will be informed by the 23rd June.

14th May: Abstract Submission
2nd June: Notification of acceptance
9th June: Confirmation of acceptance
28th August: Submission of complete papers
Upon acceptance, all speakers concede to their papers being circulated among the workshop’s

Environmental Citizenship and Individual Responsibility for Global Environmental Problems (EC.IRGEP) (pdf)



Laura García-Portela (University of Valencia)

Dr. Lieske Voget-Kleschin (University of Kiel)

Christian Baatz (University of Kiel)

In the wake of the international negotiations for a global climate treaty in the 1990’s, approaches to address climate change on the national and international level have been the focus of attention. Only recently did questions of individual responsibility for climate change become a major topic among philosophers. At the same time, environmental citizenship proposals have been brought up by political theorists as a new way of interpreting cosmopolitan citizenship (Harris, 2010; Dobson, 2006). Additionally, sustainable consumption is broadly regarded as an approach to address different global environmental problems with a focus on individual behaviour. Recently, an important role is played by social practice theory accounts of sustainable consumption. This panel aims to bring together these approaches to give a holistic account of individual responsibilities to tackle global environmental problems.

The responsibilities of individuals are mostly discussed in the case of climate change (for an overview of this debate see Fragnière, 2016). That individuals have some responsibility is hardly disputed and the debate quickly turned to what individuals are responsible for: are there duties to work towards just institutions that address the problem at the collective level or are individuals (also) obligated to reduce emissions themselves? A central dispute is whether or not individual reductions of emissions result in morally relevant positive consequences. While this is disputed by some (Sinnott-Armstrong, 2006; Cripps, 2013; Maltais, 2013), others answer the question in the affirmative (Kagan, 2011; Hiller, 2011; Lawford-Smith, 2016) and conclude that individuals ought to reduce their GHG emissions. Yet others defend duties to reduce emissions with reference to so called non-causation arguments, such as the duty to maintain our integrity as moral agents (Glover, 1975; Hordequin, 2011) or to display virtuous character traits (Jamieson, 2010). Finally, another group of authors bases such duties on the wrongness of contributing to, rather than causing, harmful outcomes (Raterman, 2012; Baatz, 2014).

This debate reached a considerable level of sophistication but its preliminary results have hardly been transferred to other environmental problems. Moreover, it is by no means clear how the debate relates to accounts of cosmopolitan, environmental and ecological citizenship on the one hand and proposals regarding sustainable consumption on the other. Regarding the former, it could for example be asked what the debate about morally relevant positive consequences implies in regard to “a community of citizenship […] created by material relations of cause and effect” (Dobson, 2006) or how ecological citizenship as “shared personal commitment” of “ethically motivated citizens” (Seyfang, 2006) relates to non-causation arguments. The latter are important as sustainable consumption is broadly regarded as an approach to address different global environmental problems with a focus on individual behaviour. In this regard, social practice theory accounts of sustainable consumption highlight the social and material embeddedness of (consumption) behaviour (Shove et al., 2012; Welch & Warde, 2015), and the fact that such behaviour mostly occurs in a habitual manner (Shove, 2012; Warde, 2014). It thus challenges one of the main premises behind individual responsibility for climate change, namely that individuals GHG-related behaviour is based on conscious choice.

The panel seeks to further explore these different approaches regarding individuals’ relations towards global environmental problems (e.g. climate justice, citizenship accounts, social practice accounts) and especially their interrelations. It is part of the MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, an annual conference in political theory, organised under the auspices of the Manchester Centre for Political Theory.

We strongly encourage scholars working on these topics to submit an extended abstract of 700 – 1000 words by 12 May to Successful applicants will be notified no later than 9 June. Full working papers (about 6000 words) are due to a week before the workshop (4 September) to be circulated among participants in order to benefit the discussion and to allow for the preparation of a response.

Proposals should be prepared for blind review, so please enclose two documents. The first one should include the title and the text of the proposal with the literature used referenced. The second one should additionally include your complete name, current position, affiliation and e-mail address.

Registration for the conference will open in May. Fees are £230 for academics and £135.00 for graduate students and retirees.  Please notice that he organization offers a bursary for graduate and retirees applicants, whose deadline will be the 16th June.

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