Anticipating Democratic Alternatives. The Demise of Futurity and the Future of Critique

Conference - June 8-9, 2017 - University of Vienna, Department of Political Science. Organized by Oliver Marchart (University of Vienna) & Linda Zerilli (University of Chicago), hosted by Political Theory Division, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna & International Faculty Grants Programme University of Chicago.

A widespread sense has evolved in the West that the only promise the future holds is one of worsening living conditions. Together with the loss of a sense of futurity, there appears to be a loss of concrete political alternatives. This demise of futurity is of utmost relevance for political theorists, as it has potentially devastating effects on the scope and status of political practice as well as critique. The central aim of this conference is to pose the question of how to recover a sense of futurity in critical thinking and the possibility of democratic alternatives. How can we rethink critique as an array of imaginative practices of freedom that disclose new ways of living and acting politically? And, can we gain a sense of how critique as “a possibility-disclosing practice” (Kompridis) can be revitalized in an anticipatory way through forms of prefiguration and pre-enactment?

Thursday, June 8
University Campus, Alte Kapelle (Altes AKH, 9. Spitalgasse 2)

  • 17:30 – 20:00
    Oliver Marchart
    (Vienna): Pre-enacting Democracy. Political Alternatives Beyond Utopia and Retrotopia

    Linda Zerilli
    (Chicago): Critique and the Realistic Spirit

Friday, June 9
Department of Political Science, Hörsaal 1
(Room A 0212, NIG, 1. Universitätsstraße 7/2nd floor)

  • 9:30 – 10:45
    Mathijs van de Sande
    (Leuven): Prefiguration and Performative Enactment: An Anarchist Approach to Contemporary Protest Movements

  • 11:00 – 12:15
    Regina Kreide
    (Gießen): The Loss of (Democratic) Visions and the Unequal Future.

  • 14:00 – 15:15
    Nassima Sahraoui
    (Frankfurt/M.): Pré-figurés: Devant la force. Violence, Resistance, and the Potentiality of a Dynamic Selfhood. A Paradox in Three and a Half Acts

  • 15:15 – 16:30
    Mathias Thaler
    (Edinburgh): Peace as a Minor, Grounded Utopia. On Prefigurative and Testimonial Pacifism

  • 17:00 – 18:15
    Isabella Guanzini (Graz): Prophecy vs Utopia? Theological-political Considerations on Democratic Futurity

  • 18:15 – 19:30
    Florian Grosser (Berkeley): Uncommon Communities or the Bond of 'Worldbuilding': Reimagining Coexistence in an Age of Forced Migration

Registration and contact: politische.theorie@univie.ac.at

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