UMR 5206 Triangle, ENS de Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, IEP de Lyon
Toleration, pluralism and social consensus: reassessing liberal political thought and practice in the Anglo-Saxon tradition
This international conference will focus on the complex tensions that exist between the core concepts of pluralism and social consensus at the heart of political liberalism since its inception in the early modern era. Be it through religious toleration then or through multiculturalism today, liberalism continues to struggle both in theory and in practice with the accommodation of an infinite variety of individual experiences, values, and demands within the pluralist society it seeks to develop and protect. In its recent theoretical developments, political liberalism has notably used the concept of value-pluralism as a basis for its adaptation to multiculturalism, but late twentieth and early twenty-first century self-declared liberal or post-liberal theory continues to think creatively of ways to reconcile the tension between toleration/pluralism and social consensus. One may for instance think of Rawls’ ‘public reason’ or Gray’s ‘modus Vivendi’ as particularly relevant at a time when religious and political discourses seem to interpenetrate so closely again.
We therefore invite papers that will not only explore recent political theory in its attempts to understand the relation between toleration, pluralism and social consensus, but that will also seek out potential loopholes in the traditional readings of classical liberal sources and bring to light those aspect that do not fit the ‘convenient’ narrative of conceptual reconciliation as it is told by that tradition.
Paramount to us is the necessity to assess both the role of contingency and history in the formulation of theory and the influence of normative theory on practical policies, such as, for instance, toleration policies in the early modern era, or the adoption of multicultural ones in a more recent context. Following that line of inquiry, any gap between theory and practice will be of special interest, as it may reveal how conflicts of ideas preceded the emergence of the dominant view and shed light on how the latter endures. Within this framework, ‘alternative’ or ‘counter’ visions of liberalism may also come to the fore.
Papers will be delivered in English.
Please send an abstract (between 250 and 350 words), a short CV and a bibliography to Francoise.Orazi@univ-lyon2.fr and Frederic.Herrmann@univ-lyon2.fr
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