CfP: The relationship between Political Theory and politics – Graduate Conference in Political Theory, 28 May 2013, University of Sheffield

Keynote speaker: Prof. Michael Freeden (Oxford University)

Almost any Political Theory aspires to address itself to a chosen political context, to speak to politics, and to be, at least in this sense, political. Recently thriving debates about “realism” or “(non-) ideal theory” in Political Theory have taken up this long-standing issue and at least implicitly focus on the following question: how are different strands of contemporary Political Theory related to politics?

The answers that these debates have advanced are often offered in terms of a dichotomy between “idealism” and “realism” and of rephrasing the question as a problem of application of Political Theory. Is this all there is to say about the relationship? This question is all the more pressing, as thinking about the relationship between Political Theory and its political context is directly connected to another question that looms large in current debates: in which senses is Political Theory political?

This conference intends to further scrutinize this complex set of questions and the answers that current debates have so far offered. Papers are invited to address, but do not need to be limited to, the following sets of questions:

  1. How do different strands of contemporary Political Theory relate to politics? Which alternative ways are there for Political Theory to relate to its political context? How does the way Political Theory relates to its political context shape Political Theory?
  2. In which senses is Political Theory political? How many different layers are there to the political of Political Theory? What does this say about the way it relates to its political context?
  3. Whilst current debates about “realism” pay more attention to the presuppositions of different approaches to Political Theory, i.e. engage in the ‘methodology of Political Theory’, it seems that relatively little is said about the methodology and presuppositions used for this kind of “methodological” reflection. How, if at all, is this “methodology of methodology” related to the ways in which Political Theory is political?

Deadline for proposals of papers (300 words): 15 February 2013. Please send questions and submissions to j.prinz@sheffield.ac.uk. Registration details to follow in early 2013.

This conference is kindly sponsored by the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield. Lunch and light refreshments will be provided.

Venue: Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), University of Sheffield, 219 Portobello, S1 4DP Sheffield

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