Deadline extended: Call for abstracts for the conference “Forget Open Society? Critical Conversations on a Contested Concept” (OSRP/CEU)

Volha Biziukova's picture
Call for Papers
August 30, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Philosophy, Political Science, Social Sciences, Intellectual History, Educational Technology


We would like to invite all interested participants to contribute their abstracts (250-300 words) to take part in the interdisciplinary conference “Forget Open Society? Critical Conversations on a Contested Concept”, which will take place online on October 28-29, 2021. The conference is organized by the Open Society Research Platform (OSRP), Central European University.

While Open Society is, undoubtedly, a contested concept, we find at its very heart a commitment to open discussion and critical thinking. This critical ethos also applies to the idea of Open Society itself: What are its characteristics? How, if at all, can the concept be translated into practice? What is its potential and what are its limitations in today’s world? Is Open Society a "Western" concept? In probing these and related questions, this is a conference on Open Society (as a philosophical/political concept) in the spirit of Open Society (as a critical ethos). As such, it seems apt to frame its overarching theme as a (deliberate) provocation: Forget Open Society?

Following a series of workshops and public events in its first year of existence, OSRP will host an academic conference open to everyone with a genuine interest in the concept of Open Society. The main purpose of this conference is to explore and open up further avenues for research on the idea(l) of Open Society in regional, national, international, and global contexts. This conference seeks to bring together and spark conversations between scholars, thinkers, and activists from various disciplines who will critically reflect on this contested concept and probe its potential and limitations in light of the global challenges that humanity faces.

Topics and Areas of Interest
OSRP welcome submissions from diverse disciplines and theoretical backgrounds and we are interested in empirical, theoretical, and normative approaches. Since this is a conference on, and in the spirit of, Open Society, we expect presenters to engage seriously with Open Society as a philosophical/political concept. Contributions can come from disciplines in which there has been substantive engagement with the concept of Open Society (e.g., education and public health) but we also encourage explorations in fields that have been hesitant to draw on this concept (e.g., international relations, feminism). Topics of interest include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Comparative studies on the concept of Open Society in the works of different thinkers (e.g. Popper, Berlin, Shklar, Arendt, Oakeshott, Voegelin, etc.)
  • The concept of Open Society and its relation to liberalism and democracy
  • Freedom and justice in Open Societies (e.g. are Open Societies ‘just’ societies?)
  • Towards a "Global Open Society" 
  • Feminist engagements with Open Society
  • Open Society and non-Western philosophy
  • The concept of Open Society in the context of post-socialist transformation
  • Open Society, populism, and the rise of authoritarianism
  • The potential of Open Society to address contemporary challenges (e.g. health, poverty, racism)

Planned publication
The organisers will select papers for publication in an edited volume or a special issue in an academic journal. 

August 30, 2021 (new deadline): Deadline for submission of abstracts. Abstracts, including a working title, should be 250-300 words and be emailed to Please also include a short biography of 70-100 words. Successful contributions will be notified by the end of August 2021.
October 28-29, 2021: Date of conference. Conference papers should have a word count of approximately 2000 words (excluding bibliography). The event will be held online; depending on the number of selected speakers and panels, this will either be a one-day or a two-day event.
February 28, 2022: Papers for inclusion in academic publication (edited volume, special issue) due.

To learn more about the OSRP, please, visit

Contact Info: 

Christof Royer (Postdoctoral Fellow, Central European University)

Contact Email: