CfP: Constitution: The Power of Shaping Forms of Life

4th International Colloquium in Social and Political Thought

“Constitution: The power of shaping forms of life”

November 2 & 3, 2017
Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile

Keynote speakers:
Joel Colón-Ríos (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Fernando Atria (Universidad de Chile)

In political and social theory, the notion of constitution remains a central topic insomuch as the term articulates a modern predicament with deep historical roots. For constitutions are not merely juridical objects of a superior rank that ground rights, institute law-making capacities, and secure state legitimacy. They attest to the self-constituting capacities of society to produce normative structures and shape life in common. This power of a community (or some of its members) to make and re-make its political form of coexistence manifests itself in the sedimentation of social practices, concepts, institutions, and knowledges. In this sense, a constitution does not represent a static unity of purpose, but rather an open arena of conflicting forces, processes, and strategies.

The question of constitution is of special relevance and urgency today, both in the local context of the conference (as Chile has recently embarked on a process of establishing a new constitution) and in the international arena (given the constitutional crisis of the EU, the populist assault on constitutional democracy, and the failure of a number of constitutional projects in post-conflict societies).

The conference invites proposals for presentations in English or Spanish that explore the question of constitution and the power to shape forms of life from different disciplines (philosophy, politics, sociology, history, law, anthropology) and approaches (critical theory, deconstruction, feminism, postcolonialism, conceptual and intellectual history, etc.). Possible topics include:

– The concept of constitution and constitutional concepts
– Constituent and destituent powers
– Constituent moments and constitution-making
– Constitutional crises and constitutional revolutions
– Constitutional learning, progress, and regression
– Democratic sovereignty and postdemocratic forms of life
– Constitution of political subjects, subjectivities, and subjectivations
– Normative struggles and critiques of constitutional norms
– Constitutional politics, affects, and imagination
– Transnational constitutions
– Constitutions beyond constitutionalism

We welcome submissions of extended abstracts of around 500 words, or else of complete papers. They should be prepared for blind review and sent to The deadline for submissions is July 16. Notices of acceptance will be sent by July 30.

The conference is hosted by the Instituto de Humanidades and the Núcleo de Teoría Social (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales e Historia) of the Universidad Diego Portales. For additional information, please contact the organizers, Rodrigo Cordero and Wolfhart Totschnig, at the email address above.

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