CFP: EWIS Workshop on ‘Political Struggle and Performative Rights’, Tübingen, 6-8 April 2016

Convenors: Louiza Odysseos (Univeristy of Sussex, Brighton, UK) /Anja Eleveld (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The workshop aims to develop new research directions in the juncture of rights, performativity and political struggle. It is particularly interested in contributions examining the links between practices of claiming rights, performativity and contemporary political struggles, seen for instance in recent claims to the right of dignity or the right to decent work. It acknowledges the concerns of critical scholars questioning the ability of rights to promote change, which have focused on the cost of increased state power, possible invigilation of civil society activity and normalization of identities (e.g. Brown 1995).

Its objectives, however, are to analyse the relationship between rights and democracy anew by exploring further how it is that rights-claiming as performance contributes to, and shapes, political struggles, as seen in recent work by Zerilli (2005), Madison (2011) and Zivi (2012). The workshop invites contributions exploring the performative dimensions of rights-claiming as democratic practice, investigations of the often ambivalent effects of rights claims in both contesting and constituting the meaning of identity, the contours of community and the forms which political subjectivisation may take.

In this vein, the workshop has three main aims: first, to theoretically develop the concepts of ‘performative rights’ and performativity. Second, to use such theorizations to inform and heuristically analyse distinct forms of contemporary political struggle, ranging from procedures of judicial activism to processes of adjudication and strategic litigation to struggles over meanings of rights and also their apparent rejection in recent riots 
and other forms of socio-political conduct. And finally, to question inductively the very notions of struggle on the basis of empirical research on historical and ongoing political performances.

Please submit your proposal by 2 October the latest through the official EISA website: