Call for Papers
Theme: Political Identity on the Threshold
Type: International Symposium
Institution: Institute of Philosophy, Nova University of Lisbon
Location: Lisbon (Portugal)
Political identity is historically related to social identity, that
is, to how people recognize themselves as members of some larger
aggregate grouping. In this sense, it involves an exclusion process
whereby ‘we’ are distinguished from ‘them’ and an inclusion process
whereby who or what one is can be defined in terms of where one has
come from and where one is going. The most common forms of political
identity are traced back to nationalist claims associated with
states, but even political parties or other social movements came to
represent the needs and interests of certain key identities (‘the
working class’, ‘the British people’, ‘the environmentalists’), and
their success was built largely on their ability to connect to those
sharing such characteristics.
However, the ground for the development of collective identities is
ebbing under the pressure of processes contributing to the
transformation of contemporary societies. For instance, the
transition from industrialized economies to service economies, where
new forms of intellectual labour favour mobility and the end of the
job-for-life paradigm, helped to erode the sense of class identity.
Also, the transnational flows and the deterritorialization inherent
in a growing global interconnectedness made social identities less
clear and certain, giving rise to powerful phenomena such as economic
migration, fluid citizenship and multiculturalism.
Even if aggregate identities have not exactly disappeared, they are
certainly under stress. One possible consequence is the promotion of
a kind of hyper-consumerist individualism that casts off people from
the coordinates and relationships that create identity; another
possible consequence is in-group favouritism as a reaction, for
instance in the recent rise of identitarian claims and of populist
critiques that aim at disrupting the status quo consensus.
The Nova Institute of Philosophy (Ifilnova) is interested in
scholarship that assesses the meaning and the normativity of
political identity in contemporary times. Namely, we are interested
in understanding the extent to which political identity is mostly a
matter of binding values or if, on the contrary, it requires thicker
historical and natural components.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- What is the relationship between personal identity and political
- If any, what are the natural or historical components of necessity
for a political identity?
- Can a social or collective identity be truly constitutive without
achieving a political status?
- Does a political identity imply moral particularism?
- Can political identity be regarded simply as a set of universal
principles detached from historical, ethnic, racial or religious
- Are political parties dependent upon an idea of group identity or
can they be more flexible?
- Is Neoliberalism a factor of disaggregation?
- Are we witnessing the end of collective identities (with its
political implications) or merely their reshuffling?
- How is the debate between liberals and communitarians about the
essence of political identity more relevant today than in the 1980s?
Submitting a proposal:
1. Prepare an extended abstract as an attachment in MS Word or Pdf
(500 words, including bibliography). The abstract should be suitable
for blind review.
2. Include in the body of the email relevant contact information: the
author(s), department(s) and affiliation(s), mailing address(es),
3. Email the abstract and contact information to:
filipefaria(at)gmail.com by 12 PM UTC on Saturday 10 March 2018.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by late March 2018. If
the author wishes, revised versions of accepted papers will be
considered for inclusion in a volume on Political Identity.
Richard Bellamy (University College, London; European University
Filipe Nobre Faria, Andre Santos Campos (Ifilnova, Nova
University of Lisbon)