Rewiring Democracy: Beyond "Us" and "Them"
Our current moment is one in which our understanding of democracy is placed under critical pressure, making it increasingly difficult to divide the world into "them" and "us"‐‐ and equally difficult to even know what is meant when we say "we." Whereas a certain modern tradition defies the political via the fundamental distinction between the friend and the enemy, such an opposition is much more complicated when democracy must think and deal with (1) climate change, (2) the refugee crisis, and (3) the rise of national populism.
The purpose of this two‐day event is to bring together thinkers from France, Europe, and the United States who work on the concept of democracy, at the intersection of several disciplines, especially philosophy, political science, ecology, sociology, literature, law, and cinema.
Some possible questions that might guide our thinking over these two days include, but are not limited to:
● Who says “we,” for whom, and from where?
● What is the genealogy of “we” as a political pronoun?
● Does the “we” precede, coincide, or follow the constitution of a political subject?
● What are other ways of saying and creating collectives?
● Is exclusion inevitable when forming political communities?
● Is democracy the appropriate government for all life forms?
This two‐day event on democracy seeks to be itself democratic, i.e. to be as inclusive as possible, to bring together scholars with diverse backgrounds, and to engage a wide audience. All interventions will be free and open to the public, and will also be filmed and made available free‐of‐charge online. The official languages of the conference are English and French.