Civil Sphere and Radicalization

Hosted by the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL),

University of Aberdeen

Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd October, 2017

Conference Summary

Constitutional democracies by definition afford a range of opportunities for political expression including protest. Why, then, do some movements choose to engage in more radical forms of protest, such as civil disobedience, hacktivism and jihadi terrorism, and to what effect? Our conference will transform understanding of radical protest, first by cross-fertilizing existing debates through comparing species of radical protest, and second, by explaining radical protest not only in terms of the perceived inadequacy of existing institutional channels for dissent, but also and crucially, drawing on Jeffrey Alexander’s The Civil Sphere, in terms of the lack of response from the mainstream social movements which Alexander dubs the “civil sphere”. For Alexander, Northern media’s response to Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience shows how civil spheres can respond sympathetically to radical protest, recognizing a movement’s causes as “civil”.  Our speakers will focus on the role of established civil spheres in producing as well as responding to radical protest.

Terms of participation in conference

There is no conference fee and lunches will be provided for all attendees. In return, all attendees are expected to read in advance the draft conference papers. At the conference, speakers will only give a 5-minute summary of their written papers, leaving 55 minutes for discussion of each paper, thus it is essential to have read the papers in advance. Non-speaker attendees should register with Eve Hayes de Kalaf as soon as possible in order to receive the draft papers.

Click for the full conference program..