CPERN in collaboration with the Institute of Labour Studies, Ljubljana: (Conflicting) Political Ontologies and Implications for Transformative Action
27-28th of May 2016, Department of Sociology, University of Ljubljana
Ontology is often overlooked in discussions about political thought and action. Several emerging debates reflect different and conflicting positions that are often either assumed, invisible or intentionally opaque. Breaking down the apparent barriers between philosophy and theory and theory and action, we welcome discussions on ontologies of power and transformative action. Critical realists have long demanded that ontology be taken seriously and have encouraged discussions on how ‘reality’ conditions action. New materialist and anti- and post-capitalist debates tease out the assumptions across Marxism and poststructuralism, and demand new ways of thinking about specific thought formations, ethical and moral frameworks. The current crisis has forced us to think, explore, and practice multiple ways of organising, resisting and building prefigurative practices. Understanding ontology not only as a philosophical standpoint but also as a myriad of calls for action will allow us to understand how people organise and what motivates us to do so/prevents us from doing so, and to initiate new ways of communicating and reflecting on our own ontological praxis.
We are keen to receive paper proposals which focus on exploring political and social ontologies for transformative action. Some of the topics we would like to invite in particular are:
- Ontologies of capitalist spheres of production, trade and finance
- Ontologies of praxis in trade unions, social movements and new Left political parties/platforms
- Anarchism, feminism, new materialism and Marxism – ontological friends or foes?
- The materialities of ecological challenges
- The political economy of migration and human trafficking
- Building tomorrow’s future today (with yesterday’s historical conditions) – Prefigurative practice and its relationship to time, space and capitalism
- Damaged lives, intensified precarisation and horizontalist escapes
- Reclaiming the Caliban and the Witch: social reproduction as a source of value-creation
We are interested in all of the above plus more, and wish for the conference to cover a wide range of topics. As such, we seek contributions from scholars and activists with an interest in political economy research, regardless of their disciplinary affiliation and whether they are in academia or not. We also hope to attract a diverse range of participants, from a variety of countries and backgrounds. To this end, limited funds will be available for assisting PhD and early career scholars (who cannot get other sources of funding), especially those from Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, with their travel and accommodation costs (please inform us if you may require help with funding when you send us your abstract).
There is no fee for attending and participating in the workshop. The workshop language will be English.
Abstracts of around 250 words should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than the 15th of January 2016. The applicants will be informed of the selection committee’s decision by 31st of January 2016.
The Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN) promotes and facilitates research aimed at understanding recent transformations of capitalism and capitalist societies. The primary focus is on Europe, but CPERN is in no way restricted to just this part of the world. CPERN’s purpose is to reassert the centrality of political economy perspectives and to promote critical and emancipatory scholarship. It is a hub for interdisciplinary exchange, straddling principally the disciplines of sociology, politics and economics, but also reaching out to geography, social policy and law.