CIAP 2018: Rethinking Resistance: The ethics of defiance, opposition and struggle in an age of injustice and disenchantment
18 - 19 September 2018
Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK
The adage ‘that’s politics’, or ‘I don’t do politics’, encapsulates a widespread sense of growing despair and disillusionment with the status of democratic politics and its practitioners – sentiments which manifest themselves in political disengagement, withdrawal, and apathy. The disagreements on the magnitude and precise symptoms of disenchantment aside, scholars and pubic pundits of all stripes agree on this much: democratic politics is in crisis and in need of renewal.
The sense of loss and despair, and the corresponding crisis and withering away of democratic politics are not just crystallised in the rejection of ‘politics-as-usual’ - the quest for withdrawal from formal democratic participation, and our thriving culture of anti-political sentiment. Rather, a number of commentators and public pundits have recently lamented and derided the passion for protest and dissent which has erupted beyond the walls of our democratic institutions and which has manifested in the birth of social movements, modalities of resistance, and waves of mass protest – i.e. the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, and anti-Brexit campaigns. “We need no more marchers. We need more mayors”, implores Mark Lilla. Contemporary modes of extra-institutional resistance, opposition, and defiance, it is argued, are neither antidotes to intra-institutional inertia nor indicators of genuine political vitality; rather, they are symptoms of the malaise of democratic politics. Behind such cries of despair and scorn of contemporary opposition lie two discrete, yet interrelated concerns: i) extra-institutional dissent is unsustainable and politically ineffective a mode of civic engagement, ii) extra-institutional dissent is apolitical, and illegitimate. Using these provocative claims, the conference seeks to shed new light on the ways in which we should approach and conceive of resistance and defiance, injustice and political disenchantment. We welcome established scholars, early career scholars, and postgraduate researchers, as well as practitioners and activists on the following, non-exhaustive list of topics:
• The ethics, legitimacy and/or value of extra-institutional resistance
• The (un)sustainability of contemporary modes of political protest and resistance
• Reforming political institutions and domesticating or taming extra-institutional resistance
• Civil Disobedience and other types of illegal political action
• Secession and resistance
• Political resistance and the problem of dirty hands
• Resistance and identity politics
• The ethics of violent struggle and/or covert opposition
• Acts of Everyday resistance – i.e. hunger strikes, satyagraha, hacktivism, and symbolic defiance
• The aesthetics of dissent
• Social movements (both contemporary and historical) and the re-emergence of populisms, left and right
• The possibility of a politics of the common good amid pluralism and conflict.
• Historical Injustice and Complicity
• Art, Culture and Resistance
The Conference for Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics (CIAP) is an annual conference that concentrates on the study of political issues that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Previous conferences have been dedicated to the hotly debated issues of political cooperation and emotions. The conference will provide a working-group setting focused on an in-depth discussion of the papers, alongside a roundtable with practitioners.
Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt (Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet)
Dr Derek Edyvane (Associate Professor of Political Theory, University of Leeds)
Abstract Submission Deadline