CFP: Section on ‘In Search of Radicalism’ at BISA 2017

While we already have 8 complete panels for our BISA 2017 section, we are keen to hear from potential panel/paper presenters to fill up 2 remaining open panels. We are therefore extending our submission due date to the morning of September 5 to receive your panel or paper submissions. Send your submissions by 12 noon on September 5, 2016 to — BISA 2017 PPWG Section Committee

The PPWG will be hosting a 10-panel section at the BISA 2017 Brighton conference, on ‘In Search of Radicalism: Resistance, Violence and Transformative Politics’. The CFP is below.

This section is being coordinated by a committee made up of Aggie Hirst, Tahseen Kazi, Nicholas Michelsen, Louiza Odysseos, Christina Oelgemoller, Stellan Vinthagen and Elisa Wynne-Hughes. The section abstract was written in collaboration with a larger group. We’d like to thank Lara Montesinos Coleman, Tom Houseman, Kerem Nisancioglu and Doerthe Rosenau for their contributions.

We are calling for roundtable, paper and panel proposals. Please include the contact details of the convenor, chair and discussant (if included), panel/roundtable title, description, paper giver/participant contact details, paper titles and short abstracts (200 words max).

The deadline for papers and panels is the 29th of August. Please email these to We will be in touch by the 6th of September. If your rountable/paper/panel does not make it into the section, you can still submit it to the general BISA pool by the 12th of September.


PPWG Section 2017 CFP

In Search of Radicalism: Resistance, Violence and Transformative Politics

Radical change today appears, on the one hand, often associated with anti-democratic and exclusionary politics and, on the other, persistently difficult for progressive intellectual and activist struggles to conceptualise and realise. An exploration of what radicalism means in contemporary global politics could not be more pressing. Radical political interventions have always been subject to absorption and appropriation by prevailing power and governmental structures, but the diversity of their  contemporary articulations, alongside their commodification in the contemporary era, has often been read to render appeals to radicalism suspect or self-deluded. At present, scholarly and activist groups the world over are immersed in debates about the possibilities of radical challenge to prevailing orders of power and governance. In praxeological terms, some advocate, as seen in Badiou’s Organisation Politique, the formation of centrally organised projects which together target the whole of global capitalism; others advocate direct, prefigurative, and local action in pursuit of socio-political change as in the many iterations of Occupy. The philosophical underpinnings of radicalisms, too, are claimed to emanate from traditions as divergent as, Liberalism, affirmationist vitalism, genealogical counter-conduct, decolonising interventions, dialectical analysis, and auto-critical deconstruction. The actors or agents of radicalism are today identified variously as workers, intellectual vanguards, the disenfranchised or excluded, and/or members of particular parties or interest groups, and are ascribed motivations as wide-ranging as wholesale global revolution, the preservation of a space of counter-cultural marginality, pragmatic ends collectively adopted, or the rejection of specific goals entirely.

In this light, the question of what radicalism is, and the extent to which it remains possible at all, becomes particularly urgent for scholars of global politics. While much of disciplinary International Relations (IR) is engaged, alongside governments and policy elites, in understanding and neutralising ‘radicalisation’ – of youth, of religious groups, of political parties (of both the left and right) – this BISA 2017 Section goes in search of the meanings, utilities, and implications of radicalism. It calls for dialogue with varied debates across theoretical, empirical, ethical, ethnographic, activist, and practitioner sites. IR continues to constitute itself as a field by narrating its evolution through competing theoretical traditions and Great Debates; this makes the question of what constitutes and necessitates radicalism within international thought an implicit part of, and important task for, IR. Since at least the inter-paradigm discussions of the late 1980s, disquiet across bodies of self-described critical or post-positivist scholarship has led them to challenge the centre-ground of the discipline as conservative or quiescent in political function and meaning. ‘Critical IR’ has advocated an explicitly radical break within intellectual responses to the international. For example, poststructuralist scholarship lionising intellectual dissidence, resistance and counter-conduct has claimed radicalism; feminist research, too, has challenged the persistence of patriarchal content within international thought; and postcolonial interventions have sought to expose and challenge IR’s blindness to, and complicity with, the legacies of colonialism and imperialism

Such claims to radicalism in IR have not, however, gone unchallenged. Marxists have challenged the radicalism of poststructuralism in particular, whilst intellectual historians have noted that an appeal to radicalism was central to the ‘behavioural revolution’, and indeed that the concept has served highly diverse international political projects. This Section is therefore concerned to explore the question of the characters, sites, and possibilities of radicalism in international political thought within and beyond IR.

Panel topics within the Section might include, but are not limited to:

  • Radical global politics today
  • Radicalism’s intellectual present and future: practices and social formations
  • Ends and means in radical interventions
  • Intellectuals, coalitions and the possibility of radical hegemony
  • Radical partisanship (after Lenin, Schmitt, Foucault and Badiou)
  • Intellectual histories of radicalism: ethics, politics, aesthetics
  • Radical politics, advanced marginality and the project of destabilising theory
  • Intersections of radicalism, dissent and resistance
  • Activist sites, practices and counter-conducts:  Examining possibilities of radical transformation
  • Recovering the once-radical discourses of empowerment and emancipation: conceptual history and new activist pathways
  • Claims to radicalism: intellectual movements, radical thought and judgement
  • Institutional power, academic subcultures and intellectual ecologies
  • Radicalism and processes of self-formation, inside and outside the academy