CFP 2015 Tübingen Conference on Ethics: The Value of [In-]Security

2015 International Tübingen Conference on Ethics
The Value of [In-]Security
July 28-30, 2015
Call for Papers

The – perceived, expressed and sometimes imposed or insinuated – need for more and more security has been increasingly shaping the political and societal systems. It seems to have pervaded almost every sphere of life. New security technologies are developed and implemented for surveillance, identification, access, tracking, targeting and much more. The “quantified self” is framed by discourses that moralize practices like smoking and unhealthy eating, both under the auspices of avoiding risk and hence securing individual health as well as reducing societal costs. The digitalized life strives – as primary or secondary object – to eliminate known insecurities and at the same time creates new ones. And knowledge finds itself more often than not in the realm of (epistemic) security, insecurity, uncertainty and risk, where the uncertainty of knowledge or “truth” is the secure common ground.

The International Centre for Ethics (IZEW) is organizing an international conference on The Value of [In-]Security. The conference opens up the whole realm of “value”-related questions on (in)security. It will explore the explicit or implicit contradictions or dialectics between

  • dominant discourses which establish security as an important value (or precondition for developing and preserving values) and
  • less dominant discourses which deal with the complexity of „security“, its possible side effects and the question whether „insecurity“ could be considered a value (or precondition for developing and preserving values).

The conference will investigate these contradictory lines of thought and fields of practices. It aims at an ethical analysis of the value(s) of both insecurity as well as security in different contexts and will address, e.g., the following questions:

  • What role does security and insecurity play in fields like education, technology, crime prevention and counter terrorism, media, food, health, and many more? What are the driving forces and the respective consequences of securitization processes? Which “security moralities” can be found with different actor constellations and what could be an adequate ethical analysis?
  • How are concepts of security directed against harmful interventions from outside (in the
    extreme: terror attacks) and concepts of security assuring the stability of social, economic
    or status needs intertwined?
  • What are the blind spots in current visions of security?
  • Has security become a fetish in already very secure societies? If yes: What are the
    political, societal, technological, economical or ethical implications?
  • What is the value of security in situations and societies which are blatantly insecure?
  • What is the role of security for individuals or groups who are discriminated against and
    thus in special need of security while at the same time some of them are perceived as
    security risks?
  • Can insecurity be considered a value? How do the meanings and practices of security
    change if security is perceived in opposition to concepts like vulnerability, uncertainty,
    exposure, openness?
  • What are the – epistemic, cultural, societal and moral – values of security?
  • What is the role of application-oriented ethics in defining the need for security and insecurity?

We are asking scholars from all disciplines interested in the Ethics of [In-]Security to suggest
themes. Please submit an abstract of max. 400 words until January 15, 2015, to

Conference language is English.

A peer-reviewed publication of conference contributions is planned.

The values of (in)security shall be explored employing different formats of interaction: We will try
to bring the conference not only to the lecture hall but also into the public space the city of
Tübingen offers: There could be the chance to lecture about insecurity while punting on the river
Neckar. Or to think about security in Hölderlin’s tower. Further ideas and suggestions for
unusual formats are welcome.

We have a small budget for travel grants especially for doctoral students and early career
researchers. Please indicate in case of necessity.

Pre-conference “Festakt” on July 27, 2015: 25th anniversary of the Tübingen Ethics Centre
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Ethics Centre, there will be a ceremonial act in
German language on July 27, 2015. Speaker will be Gesine Schwan, political science professor
and former president of the Viadrina European University, Frankfurt/Oder. Conference guests
are very welcome to arrive earlier and celebrate with us.

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