Judith Butler

Critique of Violence Now: From Thinking to Acting against Violence

2018 CAS SEE Summer School
Rijeka, June 18 – 22, 2018

Guest lecturers:

Judith Butler (Berkeley University)

Hervé Le Brass (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris)

Peter Fenves (Northwestern University)

Alexis Nuselovici-Nouss (University of Aix-Marseille, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme)

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Ruhr University Bochum)

Marc Crepon (Ecole normale supérieure, Paris)


Rationale and background:

The 2018 CAS SEE Summer School examines one of today’s most pressing topics: how to think and what to do with violence in our present society. To what extent is it possible to deconstruct and name emerging mechanisms of violence? What are the kinds of phenomena that escalate coercion and violence, making it difficult to either contain them or to work out feasible alternatives? Assuming that violence in the various social contexts is not a self-contained, but rather a relational/social phenomenon (across various social entities and institutions such as families, associations, corporations, nations, states, religions), is there any social purpose of violence, and is there any productive alternative to violence? Is violence a form of communication, and are there substitutes in terms of strategies of communication that might non-repressively reduce the recourse to violence?

Southeastern Europe has seen more than its share of violence, as well as of anti-violence ideology over the past several decades, propagated both by the states and governments and by civil society organizations and various sections of the society. The region has seen the adoption and implementation of various EU laws and policies to a far greater and more extreme level than they were implemented in their countries of origin. The trend is partly a symptom of identity crisis and identity insecurity, where policies are designed to curtail all kinds of violence in society, shifting power towards every increasing prerogatives of the administration. Every instance of violence tends to be interpreted as a systematic social degeneration, which needs to be uprooted by draconian control and repressive policies. The results include an extremely powerful police force and state institutions with sweeping authority over individual citizens, and an increasing apathy and defensiveness by the ordinary people. Thus the study of violence as well as anti-violence policy addresses a core issue for the quality of life in Southeastern Europe.

“Critique of Violence Now” will:

  • Provide a framework for exchange of views and insights among activists and academics on following topics: Political Violence, Administrative Violence, Legal Violence, Domestic Violence, Collective Violence in the regional and global context, Countering (discourses of) violence through social engagement, Social inequalities and neoliberal conquest of state and society;
  • Inspire and build capacity of participants through stimulating topical and theoretical input by renowned academics, creating opportunities for building networks and joint cooperation actions in the field;
  • Provide workspaces for the participants to discuss and work on short papers (app. 3 pages) dedicated to four major clusters: “Political Violence: Revisited”; “Administrative Violence: Migration”; “Ethnicized and Racialised Violence”; “Deconstructing Misogyny and Patriarchy”. Papers (in English) would be further refined immediately after the Summer School and published in a volume edited by the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory University of Belgrade.

Technical information and application procedure:

The official language of the Summer School is English.

The Program Committee of the 2018 CAS SEE Summer School will select the presenters based on the submitted abstracts responding to four Clusters:

  • “Political Violence: Revisited”;
  • “Administrative Violence: Migration”;
  • “Ethnicized and Racialized Violence”;
  • “Deconstructing Misogyny and Patriarchy”

We kindly ask you to put the following title in your email subject: ‘Name: title of the paper’. The complete application should be submitted in.doc or .docx format, and must contain: the title of the presentation, an abstract of up to 200 words, key words and a short biography in English.

Summer School applications should be sent only via e-mail to the following address: cas@cas.uniri.hr

Deadline for abstracts is 31st March 2018.

It is expected that the participants submit their full papers before 1st June 2018.

2018 CAS SEE Summer School Full Registration Fee is 125 Euros; Student Registration Fee is 50 Euros.

Payment is due before 1st June 2018.

The Summer School hosts offer reception and the ticket entrance for the theatre performance on June 18th in the evening, and provide refreshments throughout the duration of the Summer School program.

Important dates:

Application deadline: 31st March 2018

Notification of acceptance: 30th April 2018

2018 CAS SEE Summer School dates: 18th–22nd June 2018

Program Committee:

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky; Ruhr University Bochum

Petar Bojanic; IFDT University of Belgrade / CAS SEE University of Rijeka

Vedran Dzihic; oiip / CAS SEE University of Rijeka

Manuela Bojadzijev; Humboldt University

Sanja Bojanic; CAS SEE/CWS, University of Rijeka

Adriana Zaharijevic; IFDT, University of Belgrade

Gazela Pudar Drasko; IFDT, University of Belgrade

Organization Board:

Mónica Cano Abadía, Kristina Smoljanovic (CAS SEE University of Rijeka)

For information on the time schedule, organization and future events, please follow us at the official website and the Facebook page.

If any further details are needed, please contact us at: cas@cas.uniri.hr


The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking. Toward a Global Social Justice with Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti

“The research project The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking: Toward a Global Social Justice intends to carry out a diffractive reading on Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler. A diffractive reading is a methodology that tries to read important insights though one another. What Braidotti has called the ‘transatlantic disconnection’ shows that they belong to different traditions within post-structuralist feminist philosophy. Nonetheless, I would say that their (dis)connections can be seen more as a fruitful exchange –as Butler proposes in Undoing Gender– and an interesting overlapping of perspectives that enables thinking about social justice.

Several are the differences between Butler and Braidotti, and both have addressed them in many occasions. In this presentation, I will diffractively outline some of the points of friction that are of the most importance for me in order to think –with and through them– about global social justice –namely, questions about the decentering of the humanist subject, negativity and lack, vulnerability, agency, relationality, or activism.

Both highlight the necessity of calling for action towards social transformation. Thus, I will argue that their recent scripts are of the most importance to analyze the agents of new thinking within a contemporary Critical Theory beyond neoliberalism.”

Mónica Cano Abadía, current CAS SEE fellow, obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophical Studies at the University of Zaragoza. She wrote a Thesis Dissertation on Judith Butler entitled “Identities at Risk of Exclusion. Subversive Strategies of Social Transformation”. She has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Zaragoza (Spain), and is a member of the Research Group Justice, Citizenship, and Vulnerability (University of La Laguna, Spain). In addition to lectures and publications focusing on queer theory, she has written on new materialisms, global justice and posthuman critical theory.


3rd International conference of the

Group for Social Engagement Studies, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory

Center for Advanced Studies in Southeastern Europe (CAS – SEE), University of Rijeka

How to Act together: From Collective Engagement to Protest

Belgrade, November 19-21, 2015

The conference explored the broad issue of action – in its various sociological and philosophical traditions – and the particular question of collective engagement in its contemporary forms of protest assemblies.

The question of action and human agency has been extensively debated in social theories of the 20th century. The pendulum moved many times from perspectives emphasizing social and economic determinants to those embracing human rationality, self-reflexivity and the ability to actively construct social reality. While some of the pioneer studies of action focused predominantly on micro-contexts and behavior of actors in concrete situations, the crucial question that social theory is facing today is how to once again shift the analysis from the level of individual action to the macrostructural one, i.e. the level of the ’behaviour of the social systems’ – a shift which would escape the simple structural determinism of action and offer at least a horizon of the possible synthesis of the two analytical planes. The issues that interest us most in this respect concern the prospects of articulating social critique and reconceptualizing the ’political’ from the perspective of individual and group action.

How does one conceptualize adequately the ’everyday’ action of individuals? What is the actual potential of concrete and engaged, albeit fragmented actions in bringing about general, systemic social change? Can social theory build on the actors’ own accounts of their action as the grounds for the critique of power and domination? Finally, could we say that social theory amounts to no more than a methodologically adequate description of the potential for social critique inherent in everyday social action, or can it be an independent constituent of social engagement that brings about progressive change?

The question of action and agency was given a new impetus with recent waves of popular protests ranging from the so-called Arab spring to Occupy movements to anti-austerity protests. We want to see how these acts of collective engagement could be analyzed and interpreted within different traditions of thinking about action. Reversely, we also want to explore different impacts these new forms of engagement may have on theories of action. In particular, we wishd to incite a debate on contemporary collective protests and theory of performativity, as it is advanced in Judith Butler’s forthcoming book (Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly), where it is revised to include “concerted actions of the body”. What are the ways in which physical bodies can act in politics? How are we (and are we?) transforming and influencing the public and the politics by employing embodied ways of coming together? Finally, is precarity (precarious bodies) becoming a dominant force of protest, as Butler argues, or, on the contrary, is it the very obstacle to systemic change (tantamounting to “reserve army of labour”)?

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