"Demarcating the Demos"

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"Demarcating the Demos"
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July 12th – 13th 2018

"Demarcating the Demos"

Conference Discription

In politically turbulent times, democratic institutions that long seemed undisputed and to which we have grown accustomed, have increasingly come under attack. In order to explore what political theory can contribute to addressing this predicament, we take a step back and re-think the very foundations of democracy. What constitutes a democratic people and who is authorised to speak in its name? How should we conceive of citizens’ relations to one another, to their representatives, and to outsiders? What are the nature, conditions and the scope of legitimate democratic   institutions and decisionmaking? In asking these, and related, questions, our conference aims to bring into conversation different ways of critically interrogating the very foundations of democratic practices.




FKH Bad Homburg




Thursday, 12th July 2018

14.00 Registration

14.20 Welcome by Rainer Forst

14.30-17.00 Panel 1 - Demarcating Democratic Foundations: Elites, Citizens and Popular
Rule (Chair: Dimitrios Efthymiou)

Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and a string of authoritarian election results, have led many
to question the value of 'democracy' itself. However, an alternative strain of thought has argued
that the problem lies not with 'democracy', but with a particular conception of it: liberal
representative democracy. This strain of thought has tried to recapture the meaning of democracy
as popular rule and theorised ways in which this ideal can be practically realised. This panel will
contribute to this growing field of study, by discussing a number of questions, including: How can
the power of economic and social elites over the democratic process be checked? What role do
rights play in popular democracy? What constitutional mechanisms can give ordinary citizens an
effective role in democratic decision-making?

Guy Aitchison (UCD): Popular Resistance and the Idea of Rights

Bruno Leipold (Justitia Amplificata): Binding Instructions: Democratic Accountability and the
Imperative Mandate

Melissa Schwartzberg (NYU): Voters and Jurors

17.00-18.00 Drinks Reception


Friday, 13th July 2018

9.30-10.30 Breakfast

10.30-13.00 Panel 2 - Demarcating Democratic Boundaries: People, Place and Territory
(Chair: Nate Adams)

While territoriality is among the constitutive (and, hence, for long unquestioned) features of
modern statehood, it is increasingly subject to contestation both by political activists and theorists:
What are the criteria according to which legitimate jurisdiction can be established and borders be
drawn? How should the boundaries of membership and democratic enfranchisement be
delimited? And what is the normative significance of territorial presence in the context of
immigrant rights? The panel brings together three papers that take the significance of "place" and
"space" seriously in thinking about a variety of issues at the intersection of political authority,
membership and territory.

Jakob Huber (Justitia Amplificata): Proximity as a Membership Principle

Anna Jurkevics (UBC): Land Grabbing and the Contradictions of Territorial Sovereignty

Anna Stilz (Princeton): Does a Country Belong to its People?


13.00- 14.30 Lunch

14.30-17.00 Panel 3 – Demarcating Democratic Inclusion: Citizenship, Participation and
Acceptance (Chair: Amy Hondo)

Participation is one of the defining principles of democracy. Democracies, however, are struggling
to entrench enthusiasm for democratic participation and to secure the inclusion of all-affected in
democratic decision-making. Such conditions demand attention to a number of questions: What
are the necessary conditions for democratic inclusion and what normative consequences do nonparticipation
and exclusion have? How do processes of marginalization and minoritization
undermine the right to participate in democracies? What are the constitutive rights and
responsibilities associated with healthy democratic institutions, particularly the public sphere? The
panel brings together three papers that critically examine democratic inclusion by looking at
related issues of citizenship, participation, and acceptance.

Afsoun Afsahi (Justitia Amplificata): What’s wrong with the Public Sphere? Willingness,
participation, and the all-affected principle

Emily Beausoleil (Massey): Right to Speak, Responsibility to Listen: Centring Listening in and for
Democratic Politics

Melissa Williams (Toronto): The Shape-Shifting Citizen: Democratic Agency in Complex Systems


17.00 Concluding Remarks by organisers

17.30 Drink Reception at FKH



Attendance of the workshop is free. Registration is required for organization and catering purposes by June 21. Places are limited, and will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. In order to register, please contact Ms Valérie Bignon: Bignon@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Eva Erman (Stockholm University)

“Global Political Legitimacy beyond Justice and Democracy?”

Comment: Thomas Christiano (University of Arizona)