Call for Papers
Theme: The Shape of Diversity to Come
Subtitle: Global Community, Global Archipelago, or a New Civility?
Type: International Conference
Institution: Faculty of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Location: Rotterdam (Netherlands)
The nation state, imagined as a formation encompassing a culturallyunified people, is now straining under the challenges ofglobalization and the revolution in communication technology. Thisconference will consider the dynamic changes that are currentlytaking place with respect to cultural and religious diversity as aresult of the explosion in communication technologies, address theconflicts they give rise to, and discuss the ramifications for bothlaw and politics.
Two views on the impact of communication and information technologydominate the scholarship: one in which communication leads to theemergence of a global community and an interconnected global culture;and a second in which it leads to an archipelago of communities thatdo not necessarily converge with the boundaries nation states, i.e.to a cultural Balkanization of the world across national borders.
This conference will also address a third alternative. Instead ofpresenting the implications of the networked information andcommunication infrastructure in the opposing metaphors of a globalcommunity or a global archipelago, one can also argue for a normativeunderstanding of what is at stake. Instead of endorsing eitherutopian notions of global community or dystopian fears of an Internetwith walled gardens, one can vouch for an internet that allows forinterconnectivity without accepting the increased personalizationthat leads to unprecedented surveillance and social sorting in boththe private and the public sphere.
We hope this conference will be a stimulating gathering of scholarsfrom different disciplines and increase our understanding of thelegal and political implications of globalization and communicationtechnology for national and cultural identity.
- Information Technology and Identity
Does the way in which new forms of communication bolster immigrantand minority communities call into question classical liberal andcommunitarian views of the multicultural society? Information andconversation flows freely in and out of the national space. What doesthis mean for the habituation of new citizens? Dutch expats in NewYork, London, or Singapore can remain intimately connected andattached to their country of origin in a range of new ways. Shouldtheir hybrid identity be recognized in dual citizenship?
Of course, critical questions can also be asked about the realsubstance of these new forms of association that the communicationand information revolution has brought forth. Are the ties of thesecommunities strong enough to substitute the traditional organizationsof civil society? Or, is it a mistake to equate the weak internetcommunities with real-life social, cultural and politicalorganizations?
- Techno-Determinism and Choice
Some of the analysis presents the development of information andcommunication technology as an unstoppable force that reshapes theway people relate. Yet, there is a great deal of man-made code at thebasis of this reconstitution of social life. Should we simply acceptthe design choices and algorithms that rule our social lives incyberspace?
This raises normative questions about the technical choices in thearchitectural design of cyberspace. What sort of place do we wantcyberspace to be? "We must take responsibility for the politics weare building into this architecture," Lawrence Lessig claims, "forthis architecture is a sovereign governing the community that lives inthat space. We must consider the politics of the architecture of thelife there". Code maybe law, as Lessig suggests, but it is notgenerally accepted as a type of law.
- Media and Public Discourse
The nationally organized media organizations once played a pivotalrole in creating and informing a mass public, in facilitating anational debate on national issues. It created Benedict Anderson'sfamous "imagined community" of the nation by making people feel theywere all part of a developing story, that they were all experiencingthe same events as part of an encompassing nation. The internet hasundermined this role. The news is now fragmenting. This shattering ofthe news media in part tracks existing cultural and religiousdivisions ― think of the role Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya play forimmigrants of North-Africa and the Middle-East, or the Christiannetworks for evangelicals the world over. What does thisfragmentation of the news media mean for public discourse and theneed for a national conversation?
- Is there Method for this Madness?
How do we overcome the methodological nationalism of political andlegal theory? How do we think about the political community if thegroups that define people are becoming both more global and morelocal in scope than the nation state in which they are citizens? BothLawrence Lessig's and Eli Pariser's analysis, moreover, raise thequestion: To what extent must the "code" of cyberspace also beconsidered a matter for political and legal decision-making? If theyare considered legitimate political and legal issues, then it isunclear to which constituency these issues should be addressed. Whichsovereign decides on the code of cyberspace?
The Conference will consist of a two-day Seminar with keynotes thatbring together scholars from different domains, hoping to raise newinsights across disciplinary borders.
We invite scholars from all relevant fields to present a paper at theconference, 'The Shape of Diversity to Come'. Proposals for papers inone of the 4 conference tracks listed below will be taken intoconsideration.
- Deadline for the submission of paper proposals in the form of anextended abstract (max. 1500 words): September 30th 2012. Please sendto: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Acceptance or rejection of the proposals by: October 15th 2012.
- The deadline for the written papers (6000 to 8000 words) isDecember 30th 2012.
We aim to publish the keynotes and a selection of the papers in anedited volume.
- Erasmus University Rotterdam, Forumzaal (M-building, M3-15).
- € 100,= (conference material, lunch included)
Use the form on our webpage:
- Julie Cohen is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University LawCenter. She recently published Configuring the Networked Self: Law,Code and the Play of Everyday Practice (Yale University Press, 2012).
- Chandran Kukathas is author of The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory ofDiversity and Freedom (Oxford University Press 2003). Kukathas iscurrently chair of Political Theory at the London School of Economics.
- Emmanuel Melissaris is Senior Lecturer in Law at the LSE Departmentof Law. He is the author of a recent work on legal pluralism andlegal theory Ubiquitous Law: Legal Theory and the Space for LegalPluralism (Ashgate, 2009).
- Jos de Mul is professor in Philosophical Anthropology and itsHistory and head of the section Philosophy of Man and Culture and Scientific Director of the research institute 'Philosophy ofInformation and Communication Technology' (FICT). Among his books areRomantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy (State Universityof New York Press, 1999), The Tragedy of Finitude (Yale UniversityPress, 2004), and Cyberspace Odyssey (Cambridge Scholars Publishing,2010).
- Saskia Sassen is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University.Recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval toGlobal Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2008), A Sociology ofGlobalization (W.W.Norton 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition ofCities in a World Economy (Sage 2011). Her books are translated intoover twenty languages. She is currently working on When TerritoryExits Existing Frameworks.
This conference is organised by Wouter de Been and MireilleHildebrandt. In case you have any questions, please send an email toDr. Wouter de Been.
Dr. Wouter de Been
Faculty of Law
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Postbus 1738NL-3000 DR Rotterdam