CFP for 3 day workshop: Democracy, the Nation State, and their adversaries

Mark Leon de Vries's picture
Call for Papers
January 14, 2016 to January 16, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Demographic History / Studies, Government and Public Service, Political History / Studies

5. Democracy, the Nation State, and their adversaries

A democracy and its constituency only explicitly define themselves when they come under threat. This panel seeks to explore the tension that develops when oppositional groups within a democratic society challenge its fundamental principles. Such challenges can be based on very diverse motivations, ranging from groups that criticize the existing institutional framework on ideological grounds while seeking a wider international connection, through those who oppose the current geographic boundaries of the democratic entity, to elements seeking a sharper definition of those who are to be included in and excluded from the nation. By using violent and other extra-legal as well as legal means, these socialists, separatists, rightwing nationalists, and other (radical) oppositional groups constitute a potential threat to the survival of a democracy and its institutions. These groups, moreover, often challenge implicit and explicit assumptions regarding the meaning and boundaries of democracy, i.e. the groups that are considered part of the democratic polity and the groups that are not, as well as what ideas and repertoires of action are considered democratic and undemocratic.

This panel will focus on the interaction between the state and these oppositional groups, from legal and extra-legal political action to the verbal utterances of representatives from both sides, and their effect on the political discourse within the democratic polity. In this way we explore how threats to democracy elicit new definitions of democracy.

We invite scholars at all phases of their careers to present and discuss original research on particular regional, national, and international historical case studies that explore the abovementioned themes. Panelists are expected to circulate a draft of their paper of the panel and read the papers submitted by the other panelists in advance. Presentations will be relatively informal, rather than the verbatim reading of papers, highlighting particular thematic, methodological, or conceptual issues that may serve as the basis for further discussion. Following the panel, we intend to submit a collection of revised papers for publication.


NB: this workshop is part of  the Conference Reconsidering Democracy and the Nation State in a Global Perspective

The deadline for submissions has been extended to September 1, 2015


Contact Info: 

Dr. Mark Leon de Vries

Associate Lecturere and Postdoctoral researcher

Leiden University, Institute for History


Johan Huizingagebouw
Room number 1.16

Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
The Netherlands



T. +31-71-527 2699/+31-6-1264 4707