8th Global Conference
Violence and the Contexts of Hostility
Monday 4th May - Thursday 7th May 2009
Call for Papers
This multi- and inter-disciplinary research and publications conference aims to identify and understand violence in contemporary life. The project will pay particular attention to the different contexts and places where violence develops, occurs and where its effects are felt; from the interpersonal to the international, from the empirical to the symbolic. Attention will also focus on uncovering the motives, dynamics and functions that violence has for individuals, groups, populations and societies, as well as for bonds and social relations in the private, institutional and public spheres of life. Exploring and understanding representations of violence in media, art and literature is a key part of the conference.
Violence has been part of societies and used as a political tool in multiple ways: to unite or divide, to produce fear and compliance, to incite or neutralize mobilization, to resist domination or to impose subordination. It has been touted as the only path for liberation or the inevitable road to annihilation and destruction, as a necessary means for transformation or as the ultimate form to avoid change and defend the status quo. And despite global, national and local efforts to minimize, reduce or eliminate it violence remains a horrifying feature of today's world and life.
The conference will be structured around seven main themes; papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on the following:
1. Perspectives for Understanding Violence
Exploring the methodologies available for uncovering the underlying factors which contribute to violence, the perspectives provided by all disciplines and field practitioners for attempting to understand violence and the models available for developing interdisciplinary studies for comprehending the complexities of violence.
2. Motives and Goals of Violence
Assessing the impulses, motivations, invitations and the allure of violence; analysing the motives and goals of violent attitudes, acts and behaviours.
* Being and becoming violent
* Rage, anger, hatred and violence
* Ideas, images and ideologies of hatred
* The "hard" and "soft" violence of discrimination
* Alienation, isolation, marginality
* Mental illness, deviance and violence
* Violence as a social pathology
* The discursive logic of social pathologies
* Discourse, ethics and legitimacy: When is violence justified?
o From the "top-down"
o From the "bottom-up"
o As defence and protection
o As resistance to domination
3. Generating Enemies, Being Violent
Understanding the construction of enemies and the production of violence; identifying the processes that generate and establish violence as part of life and as normal.
* Fostering, nurturing and socialising for violence
* Allowing and consenting to violence
* Justifying, reinforcing and rationalising
* Education and violence; educating for violence
* The logic and rationality of violence
* Views of human nature in the disciplines as naturally violent
* Dichotomies that confront people: friend and foe, neighbour and stranger
* Dichotomies that divide minds: love and hate, empathy and disdain, trust and fear
* How to identify elusive forms of violence?
* The violent process of normalisation and the normality of violence
4. Contexts of Hostility and Violence
Situating the specific contexts where violence emerges, develops and affects the lives of people; capturing the links between time, space, frames of mind and social institutions.
* Domestic violence directed toward families, women, men and children
* Community violence directed toward ethnic and minority groups, racialised groups, issues of nationalism, youth and gang violence, hooliganism
* Institutional violence - violence in the workplace, schools, hospitals, police and law enforcement agencies
* State violence - as both an internal phenomenon (against citizenry - civil war, terrorism and the metropolis; repression; 'surveillance' culture post 9/11; legitimation of violence through the law, punishment and capital punishment) as well as an external phenomenon (cultures of war and militarism, 'intervention' and 'pre-emptive' policies, cultures of societies that develop into warlike states, religion, religious institutions, and their role in curtailing or propelling violence; religious fundamentalism and violence)
* The use of violence to achieve peace (e.g., the human/animal rights agenda, resistance movements), anti-globalisation violence, anti-vivisection violence
5. Violence, Victims and Others
Understanding violence by understanding the impact it has on its victims. Understanding the subjects that produce violence and violence that produce subjects or the mutually constitutive link between subjects and violence.
* Violence, trauma and victim-hood
* Violence over bodies, psyches, sensibilities
* Othering, pathologising, stygmatising, scape-goating
* Problematic inventions of the "other"
* The politics and dialectics of fear and violence
* Violence intertwined with:
- Love and care
- Sex and desire
- Taste and the aesthetic
- Distinction and privilege
* Inequality, marginalization and injustice
* Symbolic violence
* Forms of non-recognition and cultural exclusion
* Social structures and violence or the violence of social structures
6. Resisting, Countering and Preventing Violence
How to promote, foster and develop counter cultures to violence? Knowledge, systems of meaning, movements and organizations that work to counter, neutralise and prevent violence.
* Peace is to war, as "what" is to violence?
* The constitution of the not-violent person
* Identifying and embracing the "other" within the "self"
* De-naturalising and de-essentialising violence
* Respect and recognition of diversity and radical difference
* Extending and embracing hospitality
* Systems of meaning that destabilize, neutralize and nullify violence
* Knowing how to handle and counter violence
* The work and role of NGO's and other social organizations that counter violence
* The role of normative standards and law, enforcement and prosecution
* The promotion of education and educative strategies
* Counter, neutralising and prevention strategies
7. Representations of Violence
Gauging the role of media in recording, portraying, disseminating and reflecting on violence. All forms of media are included - radio, television, cinema, theatre, graffiti, internet, music, art, sculpture, books, propaganda. The methods and intentions of portrayal and the symbolic effects will be assessed.
The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 9th January 2009. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 10th April 2009.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order:
author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract.
We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Joint Organising Chairs:
Department of Philosophy
University of Calgary,
Network Founder and Leader
The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
The first Diversity within Unity was held in Prague in 1999 and focused on the theme of Human Community and Civil Society. The second conference was held in Oxford in 2000 and focused on the theme of Culture, Conflict, and Belonging. Subsequent conferences have met in Prague and Budapest and looked at the general theme of the Cultures of Violence. Multiple eBooks and volumes of themed papers have been published or are in press from the previous conference meetings of this project. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in a themed hard copy volume.
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit:
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Freeland, Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
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