Mikkel Thorup's picture
March 4, 2019 to March 6, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Intellectual History, Modern European History / Studies, Political History / Studies, Political Science




Venue: The Danish Institute at Athens, March 4.-6., 2019

Over the last decade, a plethora of progressive movements have begun experimenting with new forms of democratic government and democratization: from the various movements of the squares and the communes in Venezuela to the democratic confederation of Rojava, the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages in Barcelona and Momentum in the UK. While these movements have different compositions and strategies in relation to parties, states and municipal governments, they have all taken up the challenge of implementing democratic government in a world otherwise ruled by elites and oligarchs. In doing so, these movements have opened up a number of practical and theoretical questions: how is it possible to implement and sustain democracy as the rule of all? How can decision-making processes be structured so as to make them efficacious, inclusive and open at the same time? How can these democratic experiments reach and include more people and how do they scale up? How do they relate to, bypass or confront existing social and political structures? How are internal disagreements and critique incorporated? How is internal and external communication handled? The aim of the conference is to gather scholars from various fields (sociology, anthropology, philosophy, history, political theory, media studies, etc.) to discuss and assess the democratic possibilities and limitations of some of the experiments, experiences and theories that have been developed by these movements across the globe in recent years. Moreover, the conference hopes to move beyond the narratives of crisis and critique that tends to dominate much of contemporary scholarship, and towards a more affirmative and constructive focus on the on-going experiments with democracy and democratising processes. We invite empirically as well as more theoretically grounded papers. Since the aim of the conference is to draw inspiration from and build on the concrete experiences and experiments with democracy and democratization, we encourage all presentations to consider concrete political practices from recent history, but will also consider proposals drawing on movements and forms of democratic government in the past.


The confirmed keynote speakers are:

Tithi Bhattacharya

Professor of South Asian History and the Director of Global Studies at Purdue


Stathis Kouvelakis

Reader in Political Theory at King’s College, London

Aside from the two keynotes, the conference will consist of a set of panels organized around topics relating to the overall theme. The proposed topics are:

(1) Democracy and municipal governments.

(2) Organising the economy democratically (locally, regionally, etc.).

(3) Democracy and the role and organisation of parties.

(4) Democracy and/as civil society movements.

(5) Democratic potentials and limitations of the nation state.

(6) Democratic potentials of information technologies and media.

When submitting your paper proposal make sure to state which one or two topics the paper addresses. We reserve the right not to consider proposals with no such indication. To facilitate a collective, coherent and constructive debate on the possibilities of democratising society in radical ways, the entire conference will take place in a single room, the auditorium of the Danish Institute in Athens, over the course of three days. We expect participants to partake in the entire event. This will allow us to get to know one another and have a continuous and progressive discussion. But it also means that any absences will leave a significant hole in the schedule. You should therefore ensure that you will actually be able to partake in the event before submitting your proposal.

There is no registration fee.

Unless we receive additional funding, we will unfortunately not be able to cover anyparticipants’ travel expenses.There will be a conference dinner Tuesday evening. Pre-registration with the organisers is necessary. Payment in cash on the day of the dinner; expect about 20€.

Proposals of no more than 300 words and a short biography of the author(s) should be sent to Nicolai von Eggers:

Entitle your email “The Rule of All” and make sure to indicate which of the above topics your paper addresses. The deadline for proposals is 27 December 2018.

Contact Info: 

Nicolai von Eggers: