Call for Papers
Conceptualising Violation as Protection
University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany), 30 September 2021 (digital)
With this conference, we propose to investigate contemporary configurations of violation as protection. We ask how and in which contexts acts of violence are conceptualized as protective ones - in such a way that the persons or structures to be protected are themselves violated. Examples of protective violence are shaped in everyday practices, such as the prominent debate on vaccinations for children and adults, which has become particular pertinent in the current Covid-19 pandemic. This intervention can be understood - as it is by those opposing vaccinations - as a violation; yet, vaccinations are widely accepted as protection. Similar configurations can be found, for instance, in debates on surveillance, education, or medical and institutional care. Moreover, configurations of protective violence are in vogue in fictional media, for instance where dystopian genres depict collapsing and dissolved orders. Working from contemporary case studies, we suggest to analyse the concepts of protection that are effective in each case, as well as the implied norms and subject positions.
The topic clearly warrants an interdisciplinary approach. We look forward to contributions from a wide range of disciplines, including - but not limited to - linguistics, cultural and literary studies, philosophy, sociology, media studies, ethnology, political science, economics, and peace/human rights studies.
Possible questions to be addressed may include:
- Which theories and methodological frameworks can be used to examine configurations of protective violence?
- How is violation as protection conceptualized and justified in different contexts? Which concepts of protection or security are invoked or inflected in the process?
- Which discourses or ideologies mobilize concepts of ‘violation as protection’? How are configurations of violation as protection entangled with (destabilized) normative orders, narratives of justification, or cultural concepts of risk? How are such configurations negotiated?
- In which social and historical contexts do configurations of violation as protection gain traction - for instance, interrelations between violence and social change, threatened or collapsing orders, or insecurity?
- How is protective violence evaluated by those involved? How is protection as violation conceptually different from concepts such as punishment or practices of self-mortification?
- In what ways are configurations of violation as protection tied to notions of the perpetrator or concepts of victimhood? To what extent do such configurations imply subject positions that can no longer be grasped with such concepts?
- How are configurations of violation as protection represented in media, including fictional genres? To what extent do representations across different media renegotiate or critically engage with such figurations?
We cordially invite presentations for a digital conference on September 30, 2021. We would like you to share your presentation (approx. 20 minutes) two weeks prior to the conference, allowing for interactive discussion panels and roundtables to explore our ideas in more detail.
The deadline for abstracts is July 31, 2021
Abstracts should not exceed 350 words (excl. references and title) and be submitted to
The subject header of the submission email should include: Abstract – name/s of author/s
Please provide the following information in the main body of your email: name/s of author/s, affiliation/s, email address/es, presentation title
Submission of abstracts: July 31, 2021
Notification of acceptance: August 15, 2021
Upload of your presentation: September 15, 2021
Digital conference: September 30, 2021
Dr. Christiane Hansen (Universität Koblenz-Landau)
Neele Mundt (Universität Koblenz-Landau)