Political Identity on the Threshold
Location: Nova University of Lisbon, September 10-11 2018
Keynote: Richard Bellamy (University College, London; European University Institute)
Political identity is historically related to social identity, that is, to how people recognize themselves as members of some larger aggregate grouping. In this sense, it involves an exclusion process whereby ‘we’ are distinguished from ‘them’ and an inclusion process whereby who or what one is can be defined in terms of where one has come from and where one is going. The most common forms of political identity are traced back to nationalist claims associated with states, but even political parties or other social movements came to represent the needs and interests of certain key identities (‘the working class’, ‘the British people’, ‘the environmentalists’), and their success was built largely on their ability to connect to those sharing such characteristics.
However, the ground for the development of collective identities is ebbing under the pressure of processes contributing to the transformation of contemporary societies. For instance, the transition from industrialized economies to service economies, where new forms of intellectual labour favour mobility and the end of the job-for-life paradigm, helped to erode the sense of class identity. Also, the transnational flows and the deterritorialization inherent in a growing global interconnectedness made social identities less clear and certain, giving rise to powerful phenomena such as economic migration, fluid citizenship and multiculturalism.
Even if aggregate identities have not exactly disappeared, they are certainly under stress. One possible consequence is the promotion of a kind of hyper-consumerist individualism that casts off people from the coordinates and relationships that create identity; another possible consequence is in-group favouritism as a reaction, for instance in the recent rise of identitarian claims and of populist critiques that aim at disrupting the status quo consensus.
The Nova Institute of Philosophy (Ifilnova) is interested in scholarship that assesses the meaning and the normativity of political identity in contemporary times. Namely, we are interested in understanding the extent to which political identity is mostly a matter of binding values or if, on the contrary, it requires thicker historical and natural components.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to
What is the relationship between personal identity and political identity?
If any, what are the natural or historical components of necessity for a political identity?
Can a social or collective identity be truly constitutive without achieving a political status?
Does a political identity imply moral particularism?
Can political identity be regarded simply as a set of universal principles detached from historical, ethnic, racial or religious identities?
Are political parties dependent upon an idea of group identity or can they be more flexible?
Is Neoliberalism a factor of disaggregation?
Are we witnessing the end of collective identities (with its political implications) or merely their reshuffling?
How is the debate between liberals and communitarians about the essence of political identity more relevant today than in the 1980s?
Submitting a proposal:
1. Prepare an extended abstract as an attachment in MS Word or Pdf (500 words, including bibliography). The abstract should be suitable for blind review.
2. Include in the body of the email relevant contact information: the author(s), department(s) and affiliation(s), mailing address(es), email address(es).
3. Email the abstract and contact information to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 PM UTC on Saturday 10 March 2018.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by late March 2018. If the author wishes, revised versions of accepted papers will be considered for inclusion in a volume on Political Identity.
Organisers: Filipe Nobre Faria, Andre Santos Campos (Ifilnova – EPLab)