polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy invites original contributions for its upcoming issue on "Community in Difference: Collective Agents in Intercultural Contexts" and concurrently for its conference section on the same topic on the occasion of the KCTOS 2007 International Conference (Knowledge, Creativity and Transformations of Societies) from 6 to 9 December 2007 in Vienna, Austria, organised by the Research Institute for Regional and Transnational Processes (INST).
polylog (ISSN 1616-2943) is an international scholarly journal for intercultural dialogue in philosophy, comparative philosophy, inter-religious questions, and the discussion of multicultural phenomena. It appears in English, Spanish, and German: http://www.polylog.org
polylog encourages especially contributions from scholars from non-Western countries.
Human beings are 'social animals'; they organise themselves in groups, communities and societies, and are human through their sociality. Thus in political debates, and particularly in the intercultural arena, we are consistently confronted with two kinds of agents: individuals and collectives, collectives of different sizes operating on different levels. For a collective agent to act, there needs to be (possible) recourse to an existent consensus. Without this, the collective agent would collapse (or relapse) into an expression of authoritarianism, paternalism, or chaos. Just like the concept of identity already always implies difference, the idea of a collective agent implies questions about internal structures of democracy.
When reflecting upon the concept of community and its practical relevance, two general questions have to be raised: firstly, who constitutes themselves as a community? – the question of identity and autonomy. Secondly, how does the community articulate their interests? – the question of representation and democracy.
One can explore further the basic dimensions of community and go on to ask: when and where does the community construct and reproduce itself? – the question of historicity and locality. What does community generate and articulate? – the question of authenticity and normativity. What does community aspire to move towards? – the question of finality. How does community articulate itself? – the question of mediality. And finally, why does it articulate itself at all, on which grounds? – the question of legitimacy.
In many non-Western philosophies, the community has a special status as a collective subject. There, the fixation of Western rationalism on the individual as unique and exclusive subject seems somewhat incomprehensible and deficient. But also in the West itself this one-sided fixation has been criticised, for instance in communitarianism, and the reality of collective agents has been acknowledged, as the discussions about a third generation of human rights show (the collective and solidarity rights).
We aim to engage critically with discussion about the concept of community, in particular by drawing from non-Western traditions, in order to arrive at a better understanding of the role of collective agents, specifically in intercultural contexts. Hereby, we point to the need for an awareness about the ideological traps inherent in this discourse; this is needed to create space for a kind of reflection that will be able to envisage creative and adequate alternatives to the multiple processes of transformation in particular societies and within a global society on the whole.
Deadlines and Requirements
15 August 2007:
Deadline for proposal submission.
Abstracts for papers should be submitted exclusively by email to , including the following information:
- Name, postal and email address
- Place and institution
- Title and abstract (3,000 characters max.)
- Short biography (professional position, education, areas of specialisation, important publications; 1,000 characters max.)
15 September 2007:
Notification of acceptance.
6-9 December 2007:
Conference in Vienna.
15 January 2008:
Deadline for full paper submission.
English, Spanish and German; other languages on request.
(There will be no simultaneous translation during the conference.)
Length of presentation:
25 minutes (plus 15–20 minutes discussion).
Length of written contribution:
40,000 characters max.
Please indicate whether your proposal is meant for the KCTOS section or for polylog's upcoming issue or for both objects. In every case, we will notify you whether your proposal was accepted. polylog will only publish a selection of the submitted contributions; in addition, all papers presented in Vienna will be published by the conference organiser (provided that they meet the editorial standards).
For all thematical inquiries and questions regarding publication or the section's organisation please contact polylog's Editor and Section Leader Bertold Bernreuter at .
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