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Re-Founding Democracy

Part of the Research Program on: Protest, Justice and Deliberative Power, 1st International Symposium

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Published on Tuesday, December 09, 2014


This trans-disciplinary research project aims to study the distinct and multiple forces that are currently reshaping political systems and challenging the fundamental structures of democratic life and political democracy all over the world.



This trans-disciplinary research project aims to study the distinct and multiple forces that are currently reshaping political systems and challenging the fundamental structures of democratic life and political democracy, all over the world.

The global political environment of the early 21st century has been marked by two distinct yet interlaced phenomena. On the one hand, we are witnessing world-wide revolutions, of Arab Springs, Outraged (Indignados), Occupy Movements, incessant International Solidarity and Awareness Campaigns; interconnected activism, interlaced protest and political contestation of all sorts. On the other, there is a growing perception and emerging generalized sense that exclusive elites of very powerful and wealthy people govern the destiny of a disenfranchised and impoverished majority.

Worldwide, there are constant and systematic calls for the expansion and the re-invigoration of democracy; a global outcry for more, different and real democracy comes at a time when the institutions that are supposed to represent the will of the people are disconnected from and out of touch with the world and life experienced by citizens on a day to day basis. The very idea of democracy seems to be in crisis; these new times create new challenges to the structures of politics, bring new questions to the forms of representation and demand new, distinct and creative solutions for the possibility of legitimate governance.

For many, this is an exciting period of change and formation, of new and vibrant forms of political subjectivities and participation. For others, it is a time to defend old conceptions of authority and politics, whether democratic or not. Yet for others, this very same period is lived with fear and under conditions of intimidation, repression and lack of opportunities. Political change is sweeping the world over, but the direction, effects and consequences vary dramatically from context to context and from peoples to peoples.

We invite colleagues and activists from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and seeking explanations to these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals which address these general questions or the following themes:

1. Democracy, Ethics and Globalization

  • Are we witnessing the globalizing of democracy, the democratizing of globalization or neither? What would these trends mean and what would be their significant differences?
  • What role does ethics have to play in assessing processes of globalization at local and international levels? What role should it play?
  • How can democratic processes of representation, deliberation and participation be re-energized? How can they be taken seriously, made legitimate again, redirected and recalibrated?
  • How can democracies deal and manage with the growing phenomenon of “sans-papiers”, the “transient” and “the no-ones?” How are global migratory flows forcing us to re-conceive of democracy and the politics of belonging?
  • How can human need and environmental values be balanced in 21st century democracies? What are the ethical challenges of sustainability?
  • How do we define democracy in an interconnected world where competing representations of the good life inevitably collide? Should we redefine democracy under different global and ethical premises?

2. Empathy and Emancipatory Subjectivities

  • What new means and measures are open for selves to find others in the global Agora? How are intercultural encounters with self and other framing conflicts? How are they re-envisioning ideals and images of justice?
  • What are both destructive and creative tensions participating in the social constructions of collective identities?
  • How do we expand democratic horizons and political inclusiveness? How can we fight against stereotypes, forms of modern slavery, marginalization of migrants and foreigners? How can we participate in making the disenfranchised political agents of change, active participants of decisions and sources of cultural richness?
  • How are new social media and social networks re-framing our sense of belonging to political community and movements? How are technology and inter-subjectivity fuelling the articulation of new networks of resistance and change?

3. Economy, Distribution of Wealth and Democracy

  • What alternative spaces, procedures and forms for democracy are we witnessing? How are new social movements and global protest forcing us to consider a bottom-up re-articulation of globalization and to rethink north-south global relations?
  • How are economies of war and new forms of economic and political destabilization giving rise to new forms of oppression and exclusion in the global context?
  • What are the new cartographies of political marginalization and repression, of poverty and anxiety, of migration and economic misery in the 21st century?
  • The hyper-concentration of wealth and the generalized impoverishment of majorities have divided territories, nations and the world in a wealthy 1% versus a 99% of struggling people: What new trans-cultural movements and networks are searching for alternative models and creating the conditions for new economic growth and equal development?

4. Borders, Nations and Supranational Institutions  

  • With the recent collapse of global financial institutions and the erosion of national sovereignty, how is the nation being reconceived? Is it being transformed to encompass new forms civic resistance or is it being built as a fortress of reactionary politics?
  • How are supranational political organizations (United Nations, European Union and the like) responding to new political challenges and the need to renew and reinvigorate democracy?
  • With increasing flows of people crossing borders, with new levels of migration and both up and non rootedness framing lived experience, what policies of inclusive and exclusive citizenship are being enacted? How is this changing the very idea of political participation and belonging, citizenship and nation?
  • The politics of environmental risk and the realities of the global financial crisis are making evident our need to rethink our understanding of negotiation and responsibility in a world scenario. More specifically, they demand recognizing how interlaced territories, regions and the life of people are, and require rethinking the nature of borders and frontiers. What new models of sovereignty can be offered to address these global phenomena?
  • Are we entering the era of Democracy 2.0? How is participatory democracy being re-envisioned? What is the role of social networks in the articulation of regional and cosmopolitan citizenship?
  • What does it mean today to belong to a multicultural nation? Who defines where a nation begins and where it ends? How can we come to terms and accept multiple belongings, multiple citizenships?

5. Art, Creativity and Democracy

  • How might art be considered a democratic strategy? How might it be employed to develop both local narratives and global concerns for empowerment and social change?
  • Is art politics by other means? Should it be considered and evaluated as such?
  • New technologies, cyberspace and the transformation of culture: Is the commodification of space by the cultural industry being contested? How and to what effect?
  • What artistic representations of placelessness, dislocation and trauma in the new geographies of exclusion are being developed?
  • How is art, globally and locally, representing the new emerging political subject; the need and demands for political democratic renovation?
  • How might art be employed to engage the public in environmental dialogue? What is the relationship between art, activism and civic life?
  • Art offers a means for advancing democratic ideals, but how can more democratic conceptions of art be developed?

Submission guidelines

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than

Thursday 16th of April, 2015.

(For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

  1. Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net
  2. Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)
  3. Go to LOG IN at the top of the page
  4. Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in
  5. Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium
  6. Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button
  7. Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing, from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Thursday 7th of May, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Symposium Coordinators

  • Antonio Cuadrado-Fernandez, Independent Researcher, Ecopoetry Instructor, Norwich, England, Email: acfernandez36@gmail.com
  • Marina Kaneti, PhD Candidate, Politics, New School for Social Research, New York, New York, Email: kanem368@newschool.edu
  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson, General Coordinator, International Network for Alternative Academia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

Informational Note

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.


  • Betahaus BCN - Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia
    Barcelona, Kingdom of Spain (08024)


  • Thursday, April 16, 2015


  • Democracy, political culture, Political change, Social movement, legitimacy


  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson
    courriel : acc [at] alternative-academia [dot] net

Information source

  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson
    courriel : acc [at] alternative-academia [dot] net


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Re-Founding Democracy », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 09, 2014, https://calenda.org/309259

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