CFP – Challenges to Participation in Democracy


Conference – Challenges to Participation in Democracy

University of Lisbon, Faculty of Letters, 16th-17th May 2013


Recent political events have brought the problem of political participation to a new light by promoting active participation in ‘occupy movements’ that do not require (and even tend to escape from) traditional political institutions. What was once regarded in Western democracies as a general attitude of passive acquiescence coexisting with an occasional slothful dissent has turned into a cry out for active participation in actual decision-making processes.

The purpose of this conference will be to search for different forms of participation in different conceptions of democracy (including deliberative democracy, but also radical democracy, liberal democracy, etc.) and to assess the role of democracy as a viable political model in face of contemporary challenges such as globalization, the rise of nationalism, the unchecked growth of economic powers, the increasing influence of organized lobbying, or the dominance of party machines over political action. Our intention is to develop a notion of political participation that might turn viable an effort to allow all members of society to make significant contributions to the decision-making process.

We invite philosophers, political theorists, lawyers, historians and other theoretically-minded scholars and practitioners to submit abstracts pertaining to this problem, especially those concerned with exploring a new notion of political participation that broadens the traditional idea of representation by creating new opportunities for the common citizen to discuss and influence political actions that fall beyond the usual mediation instruments (such as political parties). Our interests include:

  •  The idea of participation in the history of political theory;
  • Representation in contemporary democracies;
  • Normative foundations for political participation;
  • The meaning of participative citizenship in a globalized world;
  • Participation in moral philosophy;
  • Contemporary legal frameworks for participation.

Proposals that fall beyond these main interests are also welcome, just as long as they relate to the main theme.

Proposals should include an abstract of up to 1,000 words (maximum), name and institutional affiliation, as well as a short biographical note. They must be prepared for 30 minute presentations, and with the intention of including a draft paper to be delivered at the conference. Final versions are to be published still in 2013. Working language of the Conference is English. Please send your proposals to José Gomes André ( or Andre Santos Campos (, by 31 December 2012.


Organizing Committee: Andre Santos Campos (IFL, New University of Lisbon) and José Gomes André (Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon).

Fees: 30€ (includes conference materials and Lunch for two days)

Please note that the organization of the conference does not provide support for travelling and accommodation.



Deadline for abstract submissions: 31 December 2012

Notification of selected papers: 31 January 2013

Papers due: 8 April 2013

Workshop date: 16/17 May 2013

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About Andre Santos Campos

Andre Santos Campos, Assistant Professor and Research Fellow, The Philosophy of Language Institute, New University of Lisbon, holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Lisbon. His research interests include the early modern period, theoretical ethics, political philosophy and contemporary legal theory. Recent publications include, as editor, "Challenges to Democratic Participation" (Lexington, 2014) and "Spinoza and Law" (Ashgate, 2014); and, as author, "Jus sive Potentia" (CFUL, 2010) and "Spinoza’s Revolutions in Natural Law" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), "
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