Chantal Mouffe on Conflict and Collective Action: Towards an Ecological Bifurcation.
The 2022 conference:
How can global and local initiatives build strong, socially coherent communities?
Heightened tensions and conflicts threaten cities as arenas for change and continuity at a time when collective actions and policies for a more socially just and sustainable urban future are sorely needed.
The answer to conflicts and tensions is still to strengthen consensus building and social cohesion. While public debates over such divisive issues are continually more polarized, steps to enhance social cohesion through more inclusive governance processes, practices of sharing and interactive community platforms, are erratically developing in cities all over the world.
Consensus building is, however, increasingly criticized for giving rise to the «post-political» city.
Under post-political conditions, promoting consensus and cohesion are often seen to deform, displace, defer and diffuse emergent critical and oppositional discourses and policies, that may arise outside the dominant urban arenas. Moreover, it carries the risk of undermining political legitimacy and produce sentiments associated with populism and identity politics.
To what extent, or how, this will result in processes of re-politization is uncertain.
As global events show, democracy without the scrutiny and testing of its boundaries through conflict, will most certainly propagate exclusion, marginalisation and racialisation of space. At the same time conflict can also result in the further oppression of some populations.
The complexity of the relationship between conflict and cohesion suggests that it is no longer appropriate to fashion either conflict or cohesion as one being more desirable than the other.
This year we therefore ask:
- How are issues of conflicts and cohesion unfolding in cities?
- How can cities navigate an urban landscape marked by the dichotomous relationship between conflict and cohesion?
- How can urban practitioners and scholars facilitate new arenas to productively engage with conflicts relating to socio-spatial inequality, climate change, violent friction and beyond?
Thursday October 27th
08:30 – 9:00: Coffee and registration
09:00 – 09:15: Welcome!
09:15 – 10:15: Keynote: Engaging Conflict. Merlijn van Hulst and Eva Wolf (storbykonferansen.no)
10:15 – 10:30: SHORT BREAK
10:30 – 12:00: Parallel session 1 (track 1-4) – paper presentations
12:00 – 12:45: LUNCH
12:45 – 14:15: Urban Interventions: Conflict and cohesion in urban space
14:30 – 16:00: Parallel session 2 (track 1-4 cont.) – paper presentations
17:30: Come back home to our place! – A bite and a drink at NIBR
Friday October 28th
08:30-9:00: Coffee and registration
09:00 – 10:15: Conversational Keynote: New arenas for urban change. Amanda Machin and Robin Leichenko (storbykonferansen.no)
10:15 – 10:30: SHORT BREAK
10:30 – 12:00: Parallel session 3 (track 1-4 cont.) Table talks: Conflict and cohesion in urban research – what now?
Contributors and audiences will sit together and workshop ideas for «a way forward». Based on discussions in the two previous sessions of that track, they will identify maximum three (!) key points (i.e. future tasks, solutions, challenges and/or opportunities) for creating new arenas to productively engage with conflict in cities. These points will be presented to policy makers in the subsequent panel debate.
12:00 –13:00: LUNCH
13:00 – 14:30: Present table talks to policy makers, followed by panel debate.
The well-known Belgian political theorist, is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster (UK). Mouffe is known for her agonistic conception of democracy and a critical dialogue with Marxism and the Left.
Mouffe has taught at universities throughout Europe and the Americas, and she has held research positions at Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, to name but a few.
Mouffe is the author of many influential books, among them:
- Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (with Ernesto Laclau, 1985)
- The Democratic Paradox (2000)
- On the Political (2005)
- Podemos: In the Name of the People (with Inigo Errejon, 2016)
- For a Left Populism (2019)
- Towards A Green Democratic Revolution: Left Populism and the Power of Affects (2022) (soon-to-be-released)
Merlijn van Hulst
Associate Professor and Head of Research in the department of Public Law & Governance (Tilburg Law School). He also leads the Global Law and Governance programme in the Tilburg Law School.
An ethnographer, his research focuses on the work practices employed in the governance of public challenges. Merlijn has studied the practices of urban civil servants, police officers and intermediaries.
In addition, he has studied storytelling in local government and at the police. Furthermore, he specializes in interpretive analyses, narrative and frame analysis in particular, and in ethnographic fieldwork.
He has published about his research and about methods in a broad range of journals across the social sciences, including Public Administration Review; The American Review of Public Administration; Organization Studies; Organization; The British Journal of Criminology; Local Government Studies; Planning Theory; and Urban Studies.
Assistant professor at the department Public Law & Governance at the Tilburg university in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on understanding public policy conflicts and the dynamics of (de)escalation at play in conflicts.
The past few years she has focused on the way in which democratic institutions meet conflicts.
Eva currently leads the JPI Urban Europe funded project CONTRA (CONflict in TRAnsititions).
CONTRA compares urban planning dealing with climate transition in Norwegian Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian and Polish cities to learn how conflict is handled in different political-legal contexts and whether conflict is used for sustainable transformation. In Norway, OsloMet and NIBR will conduct the research.
Eva has published her research in various policy and planning oriented journals, including: Public Administration, Governance, Policy Studies Journal and Policy Sciences.
Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Agder, Norway. Machin is a political sociologist with a specialisation in environmental politics and radical democracy.
After completing her PhD at the University of Westminster, London, supervised by Chantal Mouffe, she has held various positions at universities in Germany.
Machin’s work is oriented around the dynamics, identifications and discourses of socio-ecological transformation and the role of human bodies in politics. She has developed a model of ‘ecological agonism’ in which democratic disagreement over environmental issues is understood to be crucial in provoking the emergence of alternatives, disrupting unsustainable conventions, and engaging citizens in a lively politics.
Professor at the department of Geography at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, USA. She is interested in economic geography and human dimensions of global environmental change.
Her work examines how and why processes of global economic and environmental change differentially affect cities, regions and sectors, and the implications of these processes for questions of vulnerability, equity, and sustainability.
Current and recent projects investigate three inter-related issues: economic vulnerability and resilience to climate change; economic and social equity implications of climate change impacts and adaptation; and the interplay between global change processes, housing markets, and urban spatial development.