Call for Panels: Concepts in Transit – Political Ideas between Context and Universality

Political concepts – in their everyday usage, in political thought, or when used as analytical categories – acquire their meaning and their force from the concrete contexts in which they are used. Yet concepts often raise claims that reach beyond these particular contexts. This section focuses on the tension between the context-bound and context-transcending qualities of political concepts. The notion of “transit” points to a passage between different discursive spaces and levels of abstraction, a passage with its own rules and strategies. The proposed section will examine manifold types of conceptual transit and conceptual change in a number of different fields and subdisciplines.

The theme of “Concepts in Transit” brings to the fore questions such as how political concepts move between contexts, be it linguistic, social and cultural, discursive, or disciplinary contexts. The topic links to a number of questions: How does the normative and/or analytical reach of political concepts change in such conceptual transits, from both temporal and spatial perspectives? How are concepts used and/or interpreted differently in different contexts and subfields? What are the costs of conceptual travels, and what are their limits? What kind of strategies, rules, rhetorical moves, and practices are involved in them? What is the role of political ideologies in this regard? What impact does the rise of digital means of communication have on the circulation of political concepts? Is there a tension between a universalization of political languages on the one hand and an appeal to nationalisms or particularisms in politics on the other? Can political agents and speech acts purposely bridge the gap between the ideas of the particular and universal? How has the transit to universalization been undone and reinvented in both history and contemporary contexts?

This section during the ECPR General Conference to be held in Hamburg, 22–25 August 2018 is endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group “Political Concepts”. We invite panel proposals which explore the following fields of research (non-exhaustive):

  • Political ideologies
  • Intellectual history and conceptual history
  • Comparative political thought
  • Democracy and democratization
  • European politics and institutions
  • Parliaments: national and supranational
  • International law and human rights
  • Digital communication
  • Politics and time
  • Ideas of the global
  • Concepts on the move: translations, migrations, circulation of ideas

Proposals should be composed of:

  • Tentative panel title
  • Name and institutional affiliation of chair (and co-chair if applicable)
  • Short abstract (up to 150 words)
  • Name, affiliation, and paper titles of up to five panelists if available

Proposals should be sent to:

Rosario López, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, University of Málaga.

Rieke Trimҫev, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Political Science and Communication Studies, University of Greifswald.

The deadline for proposals is November 10, 2017.