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Keynote speakers


Raymond Taras

The Virtue of Hospitality and the Horror of Wasted Lives: Fated to Illiberalism?

Hospitality is different from conviviality. Instead of  being spontaneous, generous, and emotion-laden, it is offered at the owner’s place, his home, city, or nation, and where he is defined as master. Hospitality sets down the limits of a place and retains authority over it limiting the gift that is offered. The stranger enters the host’s space under conditions determined by her. The law of hospitality is therefore the law of one’s home.

The first part of this paper explains how and why hospitality, as Zygmunt Bauman insisted, must invariably be contingent - as opposed to the unconditional character of hospitality signaled by Emmanuel Levinas. Part two examines a related argument of Bauman’s: his notion of dispensable people, those leading “wasted lives.” In this view, illiberalism originates in the unneeded grassroots underclass, the shleppers, Emile Zola’s lumpen, the drunkards and washerwomen, who will not be permitted to partake of hospitality, or even inclusion. Indeed, the Catholic Pope may pray for the worthless but his vassals do not.  They are the “doubly wretched of the earth” suffering the dehumanizing effects of being unwanted and unneeded. I examine how much sympathy Bauman had for those condemned to leading Wasted lives. Did he also mark them out as illiberal, reactionary, hate-filled performers in the political process?

Born and educated in Montreal, Ray Taras received his graduate degrees from universities in Europe including Warsaw, Sussex and Essex Universities. Since the 1980s he has authored or edited over twenty books--on the collapse of the USSR, Russia's identity in international relations, the rise of liberal and illiberal nationalisms, the internationalization of ethnic conflicts, the menace of xenophobia, the critique of multiculturalism, and the impact of citizen fears on European foreign policy. His next book, Nationhood, migration and global politics, contends that ethnic and ethnicized nations make the conversion to nationhood when they achieve social cohesion and integrate migrants, not just "welcome" them. Ray has served on the faculty of universities in North America and Europe including Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, the European University Institute, Malmö, Warsaw, and Sussex. He is professor of political science at Tulane University in New Orleans. 


Magdalena Nowicka

Troubled with-ness: on promises of conviviality research

Conviviality re-emerged recently in social sciences at the nexus of social cohesion and migration studies. The point of exit of this body of work are encounters between people having roots ‘elsewhere’ and being considered as member of a racial, ethnic, or religious group. Indeed, would people not be seen as racial, ethnic or religious other, the scholarship would most likely not bother with their encounters. Conviviality comes into play with the acknowledgment that these group categories lose their relevance to those engaged in the encounters (Gilroy 2004). Accordingly, a convivial situation is defined based on encounters which are not rooted in a cosmopolitan ideal, as cosmopolitanism entails a moral obligation to equal treatment of members of other groups and thus prerequisites the relevance of categorical difference, instead of rendering it irrelevant. Yet what are the generic forces of conviviality? I believe a path to answering this question is to ask why and when and how people mobilise categories of ethnicity, race or religion, and why and when they don’t. Following this path, I argue that the value of the ‘convivial turn’ is of methodological nature, for it allows us to address the questions of human with-ness as both peaceful and conflictual while remaining critical of normative dimension of social cohesion and migration research. 

Magdalena Nowicka is Professor for Migration and Transnationalism at the Humboldt University in Berlin where she also leads the project TRANSFORmIG funded by the European Research Council. She holds a doctoral degree in Sociology from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (2005), a Master of Arts degree in Cultural Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (2001) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Warsaw, Poland (1999). She worked previously at the Institute of Sociology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (2006-2013) and Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen (2010-2013). Among her publications are two volumes on cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism in Practice (Ashgate 2009) and The Ashgate Research Companion to Cosmopolitanism (2011), both co-edited with Maria Rovisco, as well as the most recent Migration and Social Remittances in a Global Europe, co-edited with Vojin Šerbedžija (Palgrave 2016).


Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez

Creolizing Europe: On transversal conviviality

In 2011 Édouard Glissant shared with the journalist Fréderic Joignot his observation on the fluidity of Europe’s borders and its Archipelagean Becoming. Bringing Europe closer to the epistemic grounds of ‘Antilleanity’ (Glissant, 1981; Wynter, 1989), Glissant discusses this latter not as a Caribbean singularity, but as a forceful episteme (Wynter, 1989), through which the world can be thought in the Gestalt of creolization. This understanding of creolization introduces us to a notion of ‘living together’ departing from a critical race and decolonial perspective. Although creolization emerges within the semantic context of racial classification, it goes beyond it by opening the possibility of thinking the fussiness and uncertainty of mixing. Creolization represents the ‘unforeseeable’, a new way of thinking. It engages with new ways of understanding the world as relational and interconnected. Although creolization emerges from the specific historical context of the Caribbean, marked by colonialism, slavery, indentured labour and imperialism, for Glissant it represents a universal proposal for ‘Tout-Monde’ (Glissant, 1997a, 2010). Translated to the European context, Glissantian creolization invites us methodologically into an analysis of the ‘poetics of relation’ and the conceptualization of ‘transversal’ Becomings (Glissant, 1990, 1997b), as well as contributing to theorizing an ethics of conviviality. This talk will discuss the epistemological implications of Glissantian creolization in Europe. It will first explore the relationship between creolization and the Caribbean philosophical framework of ‘Antilleanity’. It then looks at current political debates in Europe on cultural mixing, focusing in particular on the discourse on integration in Germany and the United Kingdom. Third, the chapter, addresses the limits of integration by drawing on interviews on ‘making homes’, conducted with members of Spanish and Latin American networks in Manchester between 2010 and 2012.  

Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez is Full Professor of Sociology at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany. She studied Sociology, Political Sciences and Romance Studies (Francophone and Latin American Studies) at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, Université Lumière II, Lyon and Quito, Ecuador. Previous to her appointment in Giessen she was a Senior Lecturer in Transcultural Studies in the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies Department at the University of Manchester, UK and an Assistant Professor (wissenschaftliche Assistentin) in Sociology in the Institute of Sociology at the University of Hamburg. Her teaching and research engages with questions of global inequalities and their local articulation particularly in Germany, Spain and the UK. Further, she is interested in post/Marxist and decolonial perspectives on feminist and queer epistemology and their application to the field of migration, labor and culture. This is particularly reflected in her books Migration, Domestic Work and Affect (2010) and Decolonizing European Sociology (2010, with Manuela Boatcă and Sérgio Costa). Her recent publications are the co-edited volume Creolizing Europe: Legacies and Transformations (with Shirley Anne Tate, LUP 2015) and “Sensing Dispossession: Women and Gender Studies Between Institutional Racism and Migration Control Policies in the Neoliberal University“ (Women's Studies International Forum, 2016: 167-177). 

Alex Dukalskis

What Autocracies Say, What they Hide, and Why it Matters

Dictators make claims to justify their rule.  Drawing on completed and in-progress research by the speaker and his collaborators, this talk addresses the theme of how dictatorships attempt to legitimate their rule.  It discusses the (re-)emergence of this research topic before providing a conceptual scheme to understand how and why autocracies circumscribe public discourse.  It then provides a taxonomy of what autocracies say in order to legitimate themselves before presenting findings on the volume of legitimating messages in autocratic subtypes.  It concludes by addressing why these questions are important and noting relevant questions that remain unanswered.  

Alexander Dukalskis, Ph.D. (University of Notre Dame), is an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin.  His research and teaching interests include authoritarianism, Asian politics, and transitional justice. His work has been published in several journals, including Review of International Studies, Journal of East Asian Studies, Human Rights Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, and Democratization. His book, The Authoritarian Public Sphere: Legitimation and Autocratic Power in North Korea, Burma, and China, was published in 2017.  Along with Johannes Gerschewski of Humboldt University he co-edited a 2017 special issue of Contemporary Politics on legitimation in autocracies. 

Senast uppdaterad av Camilla Lekebjer