CEU – Conference ‘Activism and the State of Neo-liberalism’

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Central European University, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology
‘Activism and the State of Neo-liberalism’ Conference
June 22 – 23, 2007, Budapest, Hungary
Application deadline: March 31, 2007


The conference aims at bringing together graduate students, scholars, and activists who are committed to understanding forms of neo-liberal governance and capitalist states as well as the concrete mechanisms of resistance to and contestation of neo-liberal imperatives. We invite abstracts that address related theoretical concerns, discuss empirically based research, or present the particular experiences of activists. Our goal is to bring together participants of a variety of disciplines and geographical loci.

Submitted abstracts shall address one of the topics of the panels:

1. Panel: States of Neo-liberalism
The panel seeks to discuss the complex and often ambiguous processes connected to the transformations that states are going through due to neo-liberal reforms of the last decades. The 'retreat' of the nation-state from economic and social regulations has been accompanied on the one hand by the increasing prominence of supranational organizations like the IMF or World Bank, and on the other by increased opportunities for sub-national groups or organizations. At the same time, the state itself is undergoing important transformations, inviting further analysis of how practices of neo-liberal governmentality are relayed through clearly identifiable state policies and apparatuses.

This panel invites contributions focusing on:
· The new types of relations between state actors and non-state actors such as social movements, NGOs, international organizations, and the business sector
· The novel practices of the neo-liberal state such as re-scaling, devolved sovereignty, and the new forms of spatiality and their cultural-ideological representations.

2. Panel: Of markets and transnational movements
This panel invites papers that examine the concrete links between civic activism and donors, charity organizations and other funding bodies. The focus of the panel is on the specific cases of distribution and/or competition for money in the framework of the marketization of civil society and the paradoxes of cooperation between civic movements and trans/national sponsoring agencies.

The panel encourages the submission of abstracts related to the following themes:
· Civil society initiative, fund raising, accountability
· Allocation of aid, conditionality of financial support, transnational donors and European Union initiatives.

3. Panel: Fighting subalterities
Though subalterity seems a position from which the most urgent criticisms of the global neo-liberal regime and its transfiguration onto local politics can be launched, it is also a condition that people usually seek to overcome. This panel seeks to explore the complex processes involved in simultaneously organizing as a subaltern group and overcoming subalternity, i.e., of 'fighting subalternities'. In particular we hope to look at how the internal dynamics of organized subaltern (indigenous, Roma, dalit.) movements have been affected by neo-liberal rule.

The panel calls for papers that look at:
· The divisive pressures of neo-liberalism on leaders and constituencies of subaltern social movements
· The difficult connection between lived subaltern experiences and their public, political representations.

Applicants from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to submit an abstract (not more than 300 words) and a short CV. Please state clearly if you are interested in presenting your paper within a specific panel. If not, your paper will be allocated to one of the panels upon our discretion. Presentations should not be longer than 15-20 minutes. A written outline of the presentation should be submitted two weeks before the conference.

Those requiring support to obtain a visa to Hungary, please contact us mentioning your passport details. Limited funding to cover travel costs and accommodation is available. However, we encourage participants to also try to find travel support at their home institutions.

More information
E-mail: Act_vs_Neoliberalism@yahoo.com (cc: to oustinova-stjepanovic_galina@phd.ceu.hu)