neoliberal challenges and critical theory

CAS SEE Fellowship application: Spring-Autumn 2017

 

Following the implementation of the previous fourth generations of CAS SEE Fellows starting in 2014-15, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, CAS SEE is announcing a new annual call for Fellowships for Spring and Autumn 2017. This call is organized along selected thematic foci (see bellow) but also offers the possibility of open applications. The CAS SEE Fellowship Program for Spring and Autumn 2017 will host 12 junior fellows. The Call for Applications  closes on January 22nd, 2017.

The fifth generation of fellows will assume their positions by March 1st 2017 (from March 1st to July 31st).

The sixth generation of fellows will assume their positions by October 1st, 2017 (from October 1st 2017 to February 28th 2018).

Inspired by the excellent cooperation of the previous generations of CAS Fellows and their cooperative work that has created thematic synergies within smaller working groups among the fellows CAS SEE Fellowship, Spring and Autumn 2017 will stimulate the building of smaller groups of Fellows working on similar topics (or different aspects of one particular topic). The Fellows will present their work on a bi-weekly basis in Rijeka or other regional centers and will engage more intensively in research in the wider region of South East Europe. All Fellows will spend first two weeks of the Fellowship at CAS SEE premises in Rijeka. One part of the Fellows will then according to their research interests be enabled to spend the rest of the Fellowship in the region, while attending the regular CAS SEE regional conferences and seminars. By implementing such a flexible regional approach while maintaining the spirit of CAS SEE Collegium, the Fellows will be able to create new synergies within the Collegium as well as to pursue their research within wide networks of other scholars and partner institutions in the region perfectly designed to enrich their work.

This Call for Fellows is inviting applicants to focus on two particular topics:

Making Inclusive Cities: Towards Participatory Governance Practices

Cities face various economic and social challenges. Since they present a major site of contemporary transformations, cities have become the main arena for detecting and exploring emerging trends of rearrangements and resetting of systems. Over the last few decades, the responsibilities of the cities for the creation of community life have increased, as well as the mobility of population and complexity of governance structures. In order to create or sustain urban ecosystem of plurality and cultural diversity, many local cultural operators and planners experiment with new participatory models of building integrated and cohesive urban communities. Answering traditional governance failures by implementing participatory and collaborative governance practices opens new avenues and possibilities for social inclusion and collective action sensitive to local issues. Although these practices heavily depend on the local context, many interpretations, versions and forms of participatory governance in culture have emerged; the common goal of most of participatory models is bringing together public, private and civil stakeholders in the participatory decision-making process and collective action.

We invite scholars in social sciences and humanities whose research interests are related to the topic, particularly to participatory governance in cultural sector, to submit proposals addressing one or any combination of the following issues:

  • decentralization and urbanization of cultural policies
  • community development
  • cultural democracy
  • cultural sustainability
  • inclusive urban and cultural planning
  • cultural governance
  • policy rhetoric and policy change
  • theoretical models and discourses of participation and collaboration in culture
  • practical operations of the participatory governance in culture in making inclusive cities
  • organizational and institutional innovations
  • civil society advocacy coalitions for inclusive cities
  • multi-level governance and grass-root initiatives for participatory policy-making

Critical Theory:

Critical theory has always been rife with tensions. In both its narrow and broad meaning it has always been meandering between being a theory with a powerful appeal for social change and a distinct philosophical approach aiming at developing methods, theories, and forms of explanation from standard understandings in both the natural and the social sciences. Against this background few relevant questions have to be asked: How relevant is Critical theory today? How strong is its appeal and theoretical impact? Who are the agents of new thinking along the path of Critical theory?

Horkheimers’ normative quest for a transformation of a capitalist to a more democratic society with human beings in control of all conditions of social life and with consensus at the core of a society is of high pertinence today. How to think and conceptualize the necessary transformation of the neoliberal capitalist society into a „real democracy“ where the life is „livable“ (Butler) again, presents one of the biggest challenges for Critical theory today. To put it as a question: How is the opposition against the neoliberal hegemony conceptualized from the standpoint of critical theory? What could be the answer of today’s Critical theory to the overwhelming sense of crisis and despair both in Europa and in the USA? How to reconcile the social problems deriving from the neoliberal concept of economics and society with democracy, freedom, fundamental rights, and social justice? Is the way of “democratic polarization” (Habermas) and radical democracy (Mouffe) a possible path for revitalizing the practical and normative potential of Critical theory?

If Critical theory, beyond its normative and explanatory potential, also includes a practical aspect, the question of performativity of Critical theory today comes to the fore. Can we argue that new forms of resistance in form of activism and social movements, new forms of „performative public assemblies“ (Butler) represent critical societal cells able to re-think and re-conceptualize some old premises of Critical theory and thus contribute to a new democratic and socially just normativity beyond neoliberalism?

We invite scholars in social sciences and humanities whose research interests are related to the topic to submit proposals addressing one or any combination of the following issues:

  • the relevance and social impact of contemporary critical theory
  • neoliberal challenges and critical theory
  • critical theory and the contemporary social and political crisis
  • democratic polarization and radical democracy
  • post-truth politics
  • social movements, performative public assemblies and participative democracy
  • critical theory, inequalities and culture
  • critical theory and gender
  • neoliberalism and privatisation of cities’ public spaces
Further information and details about the application procedure: FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION 2016-2017