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Cha(lle)nging Democracy at the Beginning of 21st Century, Cluj Napoca, 27-29 Oct 2011‏


Cha(lle)nging Democracy at the Beginning of 21st Century, Cluj Napoca, 27-29 Oct 2011‏ 

27th -29th October 2011, Cluj-Napoca – Romania
After the fall of communist regimes in the 1990's many analysts euphorically believed that Western democracy would eventually spread all over the world. But things turned out to be more complicated than many could anticipate. New challenges have emerged at the beginning of 21st century ranging from fundamentalism (religious, cultural or political), communication technologies, the rising of new global powers to ecology, demography or legitimacy deficits of most democratic systems. Against this background, democratic systems have also tried to change or adapt themselves in order to meet most of these challenges. How should democracy protect itself against the misuses of its principles? What is needed, apart from freedom of speech and the right to vote, to hold democratic societies together? What is the factual relationship between legality and legitimacy? How can democracy mediate between reality and its ideals?

The conference Cha(lle)nging Democracy at the Beginning of 21st Century invites contributors to explore these questions and many others by examining both the fundaments of democracy as a political system and the vernacular manifestations of democratic thinking.
We welcome contributions from various fields – political philosophy, political theory, legal theory, critical thinking, managerial democracy, media, sociology, etc. – that take into account new trends in contemporary democracies that must be acknowledged and assessed against the background of the democratic ideals. Papers will be especially appreciated in the following areas each containing specific (but not exclusive) issues and questions:

• (Re)thinking Public Reason
• The Democratic State and Religion
• The Interplay between Democracy and Education
• "Deliberative turn" of Democracy
• Democracies in Central and Eastern Europe
• (Re)shaping democracy

(Re)thinking Public Reason

Contemporary developments in various fields, such as: political, cultural, social or psychological, challenge our view on public reason, thus opening up a series of issues and questions that we want to address:

• How do citizenship, public reason and public opinion intersect?

• One public reason, multiple cultures?

• (Dis)passionate about democracy. Public Reason and social passivity.

The Democratic State and Religion

The contemporary revival of religion worldviews forces us to re-explore the relationship between democracy and religion by answering the following questions:

• What is the impact of religion in balancing the proceduralism of contemporary democracy with the need of common values, ethics and mores?

• Do we need to formulate a (religious) vision on human life to motivate citizens to be more socially and politically involved?

• How to face fundamentalism without being fundamentalist?

The Interplay between Democracy and Education

Education is a process that happens at the same time within and outside of the traditional educational system and is not limited to its formal manifestations. Against this background, we seek to answer the following questions.

• Which are the possible conceptualizations of the relationship between democracy and education?

• How does one, within a specific culture, educate and prepare citizens to be more effective participants in a democracy?

• Which are the educational practices associated with democratic education and cultural education?

The "Deliberative turn" of Democracy

Democracy is not a datum that we can irreversibly achieve, but it is rather a vivid process permanently subjected to social and environmental changes. In this respect, we seek to explore:

• The "Deliberative turn" of democratic theory (deliberative procedure as the source of legitimacy; recognition of other's deliberative capacity, etc.).

• The influences of media (TV, blogs, Twitter, Wikileaks, etc.) in shaping democracy.

• Green policies and the debate on the environment.


Democracies in Central and Eastern Europe

Twenty years after the fall of Communism, political life in Central and Eastern European states is apparently governed by multi-party practices. But we must question:

• What is to count as democratic practices in Central and Eastern Europe?

• Is democracy in Central and Eastern Europe just an instrumental term used nowadays or it can be more than this?

• What is the future of democracy in this region?

(Re)shaping democracy
Joint-debate, meant to conclude the conference and offer possible developments for the future.

Proposals, deadline and participation costs

Please send your abstract of 200-300 words and a brief CV (please do not exceed one A4 page) which must include title(s), institutional affiliation and address by the 15th of April 2011 to the following email address: democracy@euro.ubbcluj.ro . Submissions will be acknowledged by email.

The conference fee (50 EUR) covers participation to the entire conference, as well as accommodation in the University Hotel, and meals and coffee breaks for the duration of the conference. Unfortunately, we cannot assist any participants with travel costs.

Organizing committee:
Prof. dr. Andrei Marga
Prof. dr. Ladislau Gyemant
Prof. dr. Michael Shafir

The secretariat of the conference consists of: dr. Ciprian Bogdan, dr. Cristina Bojan, dr. Gabriel Gherasim, dr. Monica Meruþiu, dr. Vlad Mureºan, dr. Ana Pantea, dr. Sonia Pavlenko, Christian Schuster.