Workshop Call for Papers: Political Action, Resilience and Solidarity


Political Action, Resilience and Solidarity
An inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional workshop

Event organisers:
Nicholas Michelsen, King’s College London
Wanda Vrasti, University of Humboldt

In association with:
• Centre of Integrated Research in Risk and Resilience, King’s College London.
• Research Centre in International Relations, Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
• Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University
• Centre for the Study of Democracy, Westminster University.

Location: King’s College London.
Dates: Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th of September 2014

The concept of resilience first appeared as a means to articulate how complex ecosystems are able to meet the challenges of radically shifting environmental conditions whilst retaining their key functionalities. Thinking in terms of resilience is deemed to offer an advance on previous approaches to risk-management in that it is concerned with fostering the adaptive capacities that are innate to any system. Inasmuch as resilience allows a system, community or agent’s inherent openness to the unexpected to become a source of beneficiary adaptation, it has garnered attention in a wide number of fields, from socio-ecological systems to psychology, disaster risk management, urban and national infrastructure design, post-conflict development and public health planning. Across these fields, the concept of resilience increasingly frames the possibility of spaces for policy action, offering a heuristic device under which the defining problems of our era of supposedly unalloyed uncertainty and insecurity can be addressed.

Contemporary debates around resilience have centred on the political content of the concept. Whereas in socio-ecological literatures, the concept has retained a broadly positive connotation, as a means to conceptualise sustainable resource management, in its wider usage, resilience is subject to critique as informing a conservative, indeed pacifying rationality of governance (“resilience from above”). Resilience seems to bypass any suggestion that extant (social, economic, political and ecological) circumstances might be subjected to a wider or structural critique.

In this context, resilience is often contrasted with explicitly political concepts like solidarity. Whereas resilience seems to suggest adaptation and immunisation in the face of complex unalterable forces, solidarity offers a means to challenge and alter extant conditions. By contrast with resilience, however, the concept of solidarity suffers from significant under-theorisation in contemporary literatures. What does it mean to “act in solidarity” with something or someone, and how is this related to the performance of political subjectivity or citizenship? What does it mean for activists in Tahrir Square to stand in solidarity with government employees in Madison? We suspect that the concept must be more than just an affective unification of a group of otherwise disparate actors. Indeed, rather than being diametrically opposed concepts, solidarity seems a precondition for community resilience (“resilience from below”). In this sense, perhaps it is at the intersection of solidarity and resilience that effective political action can occur.

Equally important is the intersection between resilience and democratic citizenship. Resilience often refers to policies that aim at making citizens able to cope with sudden changes in their life through, among other methods, taking therapeutic measures; informing them what to do in times of disaster; and supporting critical infrastructure so important activities can continue. Yet, this understanding of resilience eschews the idea that coping with depletion of rights requires new rights claims. Rights to housing, care, political participation, and so on, are mostly ignored. Resilience policies become in their effects ‘managerial’. They tell citizens what to do and they avoid the fundamental democratic questions about what social, economic and political rights and lives citizens demand. At this intersection between rights claims and resilience, resilience from below — what people do in response to crises and precarity – attains democratic political rather than managerial significance.

This collaborative inter-institutional and interdisciplinary workshop is concerned to examine and problematize the distinct genealogies and interaction of the concepts of Resilience, Solidarity, and democratic citizenship with particular focus on the problem of political action or agency. It aims to explore the ways in which community resilience may be associated or contrasted with the mechanisms underpinning social and political solidarity and with new rights claims. A number of related concepts, such as identity, acts of citizenship and political agency, are clearly of relevance in this context. As such, we invite paper abstracts of no more than 300 words that speak to the workshop theme in the broadest sense. Possible areas for discussion include:

Conflict and post-conflict reconstruction
Group psychology
Identity politics
Public health
Political theory/philosophy
Radical Democracy
Revolutionary politics
Social Movements
Socio-ecological systems
Transformative communities
Urban Infrastructure

Resilience: The Governance of Complexity – Book Launch and Roundtable

Dear all,
Resilience: The Governance of Complexity – Book Launch and Roundtable
Speakers: David Chandler (University of Westminster), Julian Reid (University of Lapland), Phil Hammond (London South Bank University)
Books will be 20% off cover price and there will be wine and nibbles (sponsored by Routledge and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster)
Time: 6.00 – 8.00pm, Wednesday 14 May 2014
Venue: Westminster Forum, 5th Floor, 32-38 Wells Street (5 mins from Oxford Circus), University of Westminster.
Resilience: The Governance of Complexity
(Routledge: Critical Issues in Global Politics)

Resilience has become a central concept in government policy understandings over the last decade. In our complex, global and interconnected world, resilience appears to be the policy ‘buzzword’ of choice, alleged to be the solution to a wide and ever-growing range of policy issues. This book analyses the key aspects of resilience-thinking and highlights how resilience impacts upon traditional conceptions of governance.

This concise and accessible book investigates how resilience-thinking adds new insights into how politics (both domestically and internationally) is understood to work and how problems are perceived and addressed; from educational training in schools to global ethics and from responses to shock events and natural disasters to long-term international policies to promote peace and development. This book also raises searching questions about how resilience-thinking influences the types of knowledge and understanding we value and challenges traditional conceptions of social and political processes.

It sets forward a new and clear conceptualisation of resilience, of use to students, academics and policy-makers, emphasising the links between the rise of resilience and awareness of the complex nature of problems and policy-making.

Table of contents: 1. Introduction: The Rise of Resilience, Part One: Thematics 2. Governing Complexity 3. Resilience: Putting Life to Work Part Two: Resilience and the International 4. The Politics of Limits: The Rise of Complexity in Peacebuilding, 5. The ‘Everyday’ Policy Solution: Culture, from Limit to Resource 6. A New Global Ethic: The Transformative Power of the Embedded Subject Part Three: The Politics of Resilience 7. Revealing the Public: The Reality of the Event and the Banality of Evil 8. The Democracy of Participation 9. The Poverty of Post-Humanism 10. Conclusion: Resilience, the Promise of Complexity

Review: David Chandler’s Resilience takes a fashionably vague catchword and subjects it to a masterful critique and reconstruction. In his words, resilience is ‘a way of thinking about how we think about the being of being.’ As such it is nothing less than an epistemic revolution in the making, a shift in what, following Foucault, it is possible to think. Nicholas Onuf, Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics and International Relations, Florida International University, USA.

About the Author: David Chandler is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster. He is the founding editor of the journal Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses. His recent books include: Hollow Hegemony: Rethinking Global Politics, Power and Resistance (Pluto, 2009); International Statebuilding: The Rise of Post-Liberal Governance (Routledge, Critical Issues in Global Politics, 2010); and Freedom vs Necessity in International Relations: Human-Centred Approaches to Security and Development (Zed, 2013).
David Chandler, Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW. Tel: ++44 (0)776 525 3073.
Journal Editor, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses:
Personal website:
Twitter: @DavidCh27992090

New Perspectives on the Problem of the Public – Westminster 15-16 May 2014

New Perspectives on the Problem of the Public
A two day conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.
Dates: Thursday 15 and Friday 16 May 2014
Venue: Board Room, 309 Regent Street, London
This inter-disciplinary conference brings together researchers from media, technology studies, law, sociology, planning, geography and political theory to discuss the implications of the rise of new strands of pragmatist, complexity and new materialist approaches to democracy and the public sphere. We have five keynote presentations – from Clive Barnett, Andrew Barry, Jon Coaffee, John Law and Sarah Whatmore – and four panels, discussing new perspectives on the conceptualisation of public space, the construction and emergence of publics, and the relevance of post-human, actor-network and new materialist approaches to how we might rethink the spaces and practices of the public today.
Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided. If you wish to attend please register with Eventbrite here:
Provisional Programme:
9.30-10.45 – KEYNOTE
John Law (Professor of Sociology, Open University)
title to be confirmed
10.45-11.00 COFFEE
11.00-12.30 – PANEL 1 – PUBLIC SPACE
Regan Koch (Department of Geography, University College, London)
Justifications of public and private: Notes from the not-quite-public spaces of underground restaurants
Manuela Kölke (independent researcher)
Ontological registers as the medium of convergence between political theory and spatial disciplines
Antonia Layard (University of Bristol Law School)
The Legal Production of Public Space (or not)
Nikolai Roskamm (Institut für Stadt- und Regionalplanung, TU Berlin, Germany)
The in-between of public space: Sitting on the fence with Hannah Arendt
12.30-1.30 – LUNCH
1.30-2.45 – KEYNOTE
Clive Barnett (Professor of Geography and Social Theory, University of Exeter)
Emergent Publics
Nick Mahony and Hilde C. Stephansen (Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University)
What’s at stake in Participation Now? Exploring emergent configurations of ‘the public’ in contemporary public participation
Helen Pallett (Science, Society & Sustainability group, University of East Anglia)  Producing the publics of UK science policy: public dialogue as a technology for representing, knowing and constructing publics
Yvonne Rydin and Lucy Natarajan (Bartlett School of Planning, University College, London)
Materialising public participation: community consultation within spatial planning for North Northamptonshire, England
Peer Schouten (School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
The infrastructural construction of publics: the Janus face of representation by international actors in Congo
4.30-4.45 BREAK
4.45-6.00 – KEYNOTE
Sarah Whatmore (Professor of Environment and Public Policy, University of Oxford)
Experimental Publics: Science, Democracy and the Redistribution of Expertise
10.00-11.15 KEYNOTE
Andrew Barry (Professor of Human Geography, University College, London)
Material Politics and the Reinvention of the Public
11.15-11.30 COFFEE
Andreas Birkbak (Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark)
Facebook pages as ’demo versions’ of issue publics
Gwendolyn Blue (Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Canada)
Animal publics: Political subjectivity after the human subject
Ferenc Hammer (Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
The Hungarian Roundabout and Further Settings for the Authoritarian Subject: Technologies of Self-Governance in Everyday Practices
Jonathan Metzger (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)
Moose re:public – traversing the human/non-human divide in the politics of  transport infrastructure development
1.00-1.45 LUNCH
Lindsay Bremner (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster) The Political Life of Rising Acid Mine Water
Ana Delgado and Blanca Callén (Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen, Norway)
The making of obsolescence: how things become public in the age of precariousness
Michael Guggenheim, Joe Deville, Zuzana Hrdlickova (Department of Sociology
Goldsmiths, University of London)
The Megaphone and the Map: Assembling and Representing the Public in Disaster Exercises
Owain Jones (Environmental Humanities, Bath Spa University)
Is My Flesh Not Public? Thinking of bodies and ‘the public’ through water
3.15-3.30 COFFEE
3.30-4.45 KEYNOTE
Jon Coaffee (Professor in Urban Geography, University of Warwick)
Citizenship and Democracy in the City 2.0: Balancing the Quest for Resilience and the Public Interest in Urban Development
4.45-5.00 BREAK

David Chandler, Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW. Tel: ++44 (0)776 525 3073.
Journal Editor, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses:
Book series Editor, Routledge Studies in Intervention and Statebuilding:
Book series Editor, Routledge Advances in Democratic Theory:
Amazon books page:
Personal website:

ISA 2015 CFP – ‘Aesthetic visions of International Relations: comics and the comic’

A Call for Papers for ISA 2015 is below. The title is ‘Aesthetic visions of International Relations: comics and the comic’.

Please get in touch before May 2 if you are interested in submitting an abstract.

Many thanks,

Alister Wedderburn, KCL

Call for papers, ISA 2015 – ‘Aesthetic visions of International Relations: comics and the comic’

The importance of the image to individual and collective perceptions of violence and politics is widely recognised, to the extent that James Der Derian is able to speak of a ‘Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network’ in which warfare, political institutions and their cultural representations are inextricably and symbiotically intertwined. However, much contemporary concern with imagery and aesthetics neglects the cartoon or the comic strip, focusing instead on ‘high’ art or reportage – photography, television or newspapers, for example. Given the ubiquity and singularity of cartoons and comics in popular political commentary and propaganda, this seems an unjustified oversight.

Questions that the panel might raise and investigate could include (but are by no means limited to) why the medium is often used for such a wide range of seemingly dissonant purposes such as satire and instruction; how and why tropes from cartoons and comics can be used as tools of resistance (e.g. the V for Vendetta mask in the Occupy movement or the ‘Rebel Clown Armies’ that have participated prominently in a number of protests over the past decade) and the relationship between humour, ideas of ‘the comic’ and international politics more generally.

Please get in touch before May 2 if you are interested in submitting an abstract.

Many thanks,

Alister Wedderburn
King’s College,

CFP Security/Mobility Workshop, 25-26 September 2014, Amsterdam

Between Imagination and Authority

A workshop to be held at the University of Amsterdam
25-26 September 2014

Confirmed key note speakers:

Prof. dr. Louise Amoore, Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University
Dr. Debbie Lisle, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University Belfast
Prof dr. Luis Lobo-Guerrero, Professor of History and Theory of International Relations, University of Groningen


Research across the humanities and social sciences has provided a growing understanding of contemporary practices of governing security and mobility. Building on these literatures, this workshop aims to deepen that knowledge by exploring the different ways in which security/mobility are imagined to operate in the context of preemptive modes of security. In order to do so, we propose to study the material and discursive manifestations of these security/mobility imaginations and the particular forms of authority they exercise. What are the effects of ‘architectures’—in the broadest sense—of borders, databases, infrastructures, discourses and bureaucracies? For instance, how does the checkpoint perform and reinforce imaginaries of access, control, filtering and facilitation? According to which logics do authoritative discourses produce social and political subjects that are deemed trustworthy or threatening? And how do algorithms calculate and indicate who is harmless/-ful and who should be rendered im-/mobile?

In bringing together a highly interdisciplinary group of researchers, we aim to foster innovative ways of studying security and mobility. The meeting seeks to advance understanding of how political power and authority are being transformed in the face of contemporary security regimes and their material manifestations (e.g. smart border initiatives, trusted traveler schemes, PRISM, asylum procedures, the construction of border fences, checkpoints and detection camps). We also seek to interrogate the ways in which the exclusionary effects of these regimes can potentially be resisted and/or circumvented.

We invite paper proposals from scholars across the social sciences and humanities analyzing security/mobility imaginaries and their material manifestations. Themes of interest include (but are not limited to):

– anti-terrorism discourses and politics;
– immigration, asylum and refugee policies;
– concrete mobility architectures and technologies;
– private security, procurement and trade;
– cooperation and competition in military/police operations;
– the space of the camp;
– naturalization and denaturalization laws;
– bureaucracies and expertise.

Please submit paper abstracts of max. 300 words by June 13, 2014 to Marie Beauchamps

The workshop is sponsored by the NWO Vidi project ‘European Security Culture,’ the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies (ACGS) and the University of Groningen (RUG). Please contact Marie Beauchamps ([log in to unmask]) or Marijn Hoijtink ([log in to unmask]) for more information.

CFP: What is Space: a Post-Disciplinary Workshop on the Return of an Old Debate

On behalf of Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis:

What is Space: a Post-Disciplinary Workshop on the Return of an Old Debate

The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me (Pascal, Thoughts, 1964)

Space is the everywhere of modern thought. It is the flesh that flatters the bones of theory. It is an all-purpose nostrum to be applied whenever things look sticky. (Crang and Thrift, Thinking Space, 2000)

Tuesday 17 June 2014 IAS Seminar Room, Millburn House, University of Warwick (more information:

The question of space has in both the humanities and the social sciences recently regained prominence on academic agendas. The so-called ‘spatial turn’, initially set in motion by geographers, has allowed historians, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, artists and others to return to the long abandoned, albeit fundamental, question of what space is. This reengagement has resulted in a gradual, ongoing questioning and re-opening of the great debates that earlier characterised the European Renaissance. Contemporary discussions and writings about space have led to a multiplication of literal and metaphorical spatial references ranging from ‘location’, ‘terrain’, ‘site’, ‘region’ among countless others. This intellectual enrichment means however also that the question of space has become an increasingly messy, ambiguous and sometimes even incongruous affair.

This workshop invites junior and senior academics from across the University to explain and demonstrate how they conceptualise space in their work. We believe that the problem of space is too important to be left to one discipline. The objective of this one-day workshop is therefore to deterritorialise and transcend the longstanding disciplinary academic divisions and to reengage academics from all departments in an attempt to build bridges over the vast rivers that have come to divide us. The goal is not so much to arrive at a common consensus, nor to find a universally acceptable solution to the fundamental problem that space poses to us, but to openly start questioning and speculating again about the meaning we give to the concept.

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers of approximately 20 minutes in length, accompanied by a short biographical note. Please email all abstracts and inquiries to the convenor, Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis at The deadline for the receipt of all abstracts is the 6th of May 2014. We can discuss the possibilities of combining the workshop papers into an edited volume.

This workshop is funded by the Institute of Advanced Study​, University of Warwick

cfp: Maritime ports and the making of the global -ISA 2015

Maritime ports and the making of the global

ISA Annual Convention 2015, call for papers -(apologies for cross-posting)-

Ports and port systems are and have been pre-eminent global sites. Their presence and history express ideas of globality, localism and regionalism which cannot be understood in isolation from each other. Their role, which transcends that of connecting landed with maritime domains, is one without which the global connectedness of cultures and economies would not be possible. They are, however, largely forgotten in our studies of the global and the international. The connectivity that ports afford constitutes a rich empirical site from which to wonder about the continuous making of the global.

This panel is intended to foster a discussion on the role of ports as sites of (global) power. It asks, how are ports expressions of power relations? How can we understand the role of ports in the making of the global? How are we to define and analyse the forms of connectivity that result from ‘port-ing’ the global, the regional, the local? How can histories of the global and the international be told from the histories of ports? Who and what makes a port and how people matter in the ‘port-ing’ of politics?

Conceptual, historical, theoretical and empirical papers addressing these questions and others related to the topic are invited.

Please submit abstracts of 200 words by Friday 16 May