Political Community

Political Community

This is a past event

Academic workshop

Please do read the workshop summaries which include the presentations and discussion sessions.

We take as a loose working definition that a political community is "one whose members share as such a real stake in political institutions and for that reason subject themselves to the norms and decisions of those institutions". You can read the full original working definition of "political community" that we propose to use, as well as the revised working definition that we are currently discussing.

Then do join the Political Community email group in which we will debate the concept and to share thoughts and findings in this area. The list is open to anyone with an interest in the topic.

Notions of political community are implicit in many or most contemporary debates (academic and public) of citizenship, civil society, rule of law, democracy, multiculturalism and human rights. But they are seldom made explicit and subject to analysis and reflection. That has also been our experience at the inter-disciplinary Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL). Having debated aspects of citizenship, civil society and rule of law since our founding in 2009, we have identified political community as a topic that crosscuts the three but which we have yet to comprehend fully. This year we debated the role of valuable resources in political community in our public conference “Politics of Oil & Gas in a Changing UK: International Perspectives” and political community is also key to our current research project on “Schooling in Political Community”. In our draft proposal for that project, we do offer a working definition of political community: one whose members have a real stake in political institutions and, for that reason, subject themselves to the decisions of those institutions. We are open to other ways of defining and approaching the topic, though, and we invite participants in our Political Community workshop to give their own answers to the following questions:

1. When “political community” has been the explicit topic of debates, in particular times and places, what is meant by “political” and what is meant by “community”? What is not considered political and what is not community?To give just two examples, how is political community distinguished from religious community? And community from society?

2. What notions of political community have been caught up in citizenship, civil society and rule of law? Does citizenship, for example, always entail political community?

3. Can we identify political community beyond citizenship, civil society and rule of law? For example, are universities political communities? How about families, businesses and churches? Is multitude, as Hardt and Negri suggest, an emergent form of political community? What other emergent political communities might there be?

Confirmed speakers include:

- Hanna Lerner, Assistant Professor in Political Science, Tel Aviv University, author of Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies (CUP, 2011)

- John Perry, McDonald Post-Doctoral Fellow for Christian Ethics and Public Life, U Oxford, author of The Pretenses of Loyalty: Locke, Liberal Theory, and American Political Theology (OUP, 2011)

- Sian Lazar, Lecturer in Social Anthropology, U Cambridge, author of El Alto, Rebel City: Self and Citizenship in Andean Bolivia (Duke, 2008)

- Ajay Gudavarthy, Assistant Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, author of Politics of Post-Civil Society: Contemporary History of Political Movements in India (Sage, 2013) and editor of Reframing Democracy and Agency in India: Interrogating Political Society (Anthem, 2012)

- Nigel Dower, Emeritus in Philosophy, U Aberdeen, author of An Introduction to Global Citizenship (EUP, 2003)

- Tamas Gyorfi, Lecturer in Law, U Aberdeen, author of "Between Common Law Constitutionalism and Procedural Democracy" in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2012)

King's College campus, Commitee Room 2

Trevor Stack t.stack@abdn.ac.uk

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