Politics in Times of Anxiety Conference

Politics in Times of Anxiety Conference, June 9 – 11, 2014

University of Manchester

Speakers: Zygmunt Bauman, Veronique Voruz, Didier Bigo, Michael Dillon, R.B.J. Walker

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, worries over public safety and security became a central issue across the world. The subsequent crisis that broke out in 2008 in the USA and gradually spread in Europe initiated a protracted period of global slump and distressed views on political representation, for example the Occupy movement, the Indignados, or, more recently, uprisings in Greece, Turkey, and Brazil, to name but a few. In these instances, fear about environmental sustainability, economic stability, or social exclusion has permeated the public discourses, creating a strong narrative of an imminent threat, or, uncertainty about the future. These expressions of uncertainty and dissatisfaction are more than mere signs of insecurity. They are attempts at managing, dealing with and manipulating anxiety. The official political discourse aims to identify various different objects of anxiety and secure populations from them (a number of ‘new security threats’ such as the environment, uncertainty, natural disasters etc.); while the political subjects’ responses to the times of anxiety is somewhat different. Some embrace anxiety and see it as a possibility of a radical change in the existing political discourse, others strive to overcome it and seek security. Thus anxiety profoundly questions how we conceive of politics. From classical political action to a different sense of belonging and societal reactions, such as artistic expressions, but also religious ones, what is at stake when anxiety becomes the driving force of politics? This conference aims to engage with the implications anxiety as a phenomena spread across society, personal life, as well as global, regional, and local levels, has on our everyday socio-political reality.
Please submit an abstract of 250 words on http://politicalhorizons.wordpress.com/cfp2014/ by February 28 2014.

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