CFP: A World Without Politics?

September 17-19, 2009

K.U. Leuven, Belgium.

Please send a two-page abstract to by April
1st 2009.

Conference Description:

In response to globalization, international political structures are rapidly
changing. The emerging world order is characterized by a growing and complex
network of regional and transnational institutions which shape an
increasingly interconnected global order in a way that undermines the
sovereign independence of nation-states. Because of the growing importance
of international law and the technocratic nature of these new institutions,
the emergence of the global governance structure has often been analyzed as
a process of depoliticization. Whereas politics is supposed to be about a
visible, organized and ongoing struggle for power, the very concept of
governance, as a form of «government without opposition», seems to refer to
a bureaucratic and consensual way of organizing society.

Although some have hailed the increasing reliance on law, expert knowledge
and consensus as a reinforcement of democracy, others have argued that the
process of depoliticization helps to conceal the true power relations
underlying the global structure and contributes to the disempowerment of
citizens world wide in their attempts to shape the global order in a
democratically legitimized manner. It is the purpose of this conference to
analyze the alleged depoliticization of the global order and to reflect on
the ways in which this process affects the prospects of some form of global

The following speakers have been confirmed:

Jean Cohen, Joshua Cohen & Charles Sabel, Chantal Mouffe, Etienne Balibar,
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Maragaret Moore, & Andreas Kalyvas.

Call For Papers:

In addition to these, we are looking for several junior scholars (recent
appointments, post-doctoral researchers and PhD candidates) interested in
delivering a paper (15-20 minutes, 20 minutes for discussion). If you would
like to be considered please send your name, academic affiliation, and a
two-page abstract to by April 1st 2009.

Here are some possible topics for the junior sessions.

*       Is cosmopolitan global governance a-political?
*       Is cosmopolitan global governance cloaking ideological or imperial
power structures?
*       Do human rights discourses lead to a depoliticization of world
*       Is there still a role for sovereign nation-states in the new world
*       Does global democracy rule out national self-determination?
*       Is the concept of sovereignty outdated? Can or should it acquire a
different meaning?
*       Should we move from global governance to global government?
*       What forms of political opposition are possible on the world level?
*       Would an evolution towards a multi-polar world order consisting of
regional power blocs be desirable?
*       Are representative forms of government on the global level
desirable? Are they possible?

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