Call for Papers – Mid-term conference: (Conflicting) Political Ontologies and Implications for Transformative Action

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  

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