CfP: Power and Representation, 4 – 6 June 2014, University of Leuven

30. Sep 2013


4 – 6 June 2014, Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Warren Breckman (University of Pennsylvania)
Lisa Disch (University of Michigan)
Bernard Flynn (New School for Social Research)
Andreas Kalyvas (New School for Social Research)
Ernesto Laclau (University of Essex)
Chantal Mouffe (University of Westminster)
Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)

RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy Leuven) is organizing a three day conference and warmly invites contributions by established scholars as well as by graduate students on the following theme.

The concepts of ‘democracy’ and ‘representation’ are often understood to be closely intertwined. Indeed, the terms are sometimes even used interchangeably. In the past decade, however, various political movements and developments have laid bare a broadly shared dissatisfaction with, and mistrust in, traditional power structures and representative institutions. In the meantime, theoretical debates on representation have taken a so-called ‘constructivist turn’, implying that the logic of representation is intrinsic to the formation of collective power and group identities. The aim of this conference is to relate the ongoing debate on representation with the various challenges to representation in today’s world. Against this general background, we encourage contributors to steer the theme of their paper in one of the following directions:

–       Power and representation: Can we conceive of power without representation, and the other way around: is representation possible without power? What kind of power is (re)produced in representative structures?
–       Representation and counter-representation: Are today’s ‘counter-representative’ movements giving rise to a new understanding of power and democracy?
–       Recognition and representation: Do relations of representation involve a form of mutual recognition between a representative and her constituency? And do they generate relations of recognition among constituents?
–       Power and visibility in the supranational constellation: How do representative structures and practices legitimize power and make it (in)visible at the supranational level?
–       Representation, power and the symbolic: What is the relation between power and the ‘symbolic’ institution of political communities?
–       Representation versus democracy in historical perspective: What can we learn from past views on the tension between democracy and representation?

Applicants are requested to submit a short version of their paper (Approx. 1000 words) by 15 December 2013 to or All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their submission by 15 January 2014. Conference participants will be asked to pay a small registration fee that will cover all lunches and refreshments. For further queries, please contact Marta Resmini ( or Mathijs van de Sande (