“Between the Individual and the Collective: Processes of Sociopolitical Formation”
The dichotomy of the individual and the collective has been a classic problem of philosophy and political theory since the beginning. Perennial questions have emerged around the nature and the viability of social bonds. Are social relations forged by consent to a social contract? Are they the expression of a common will of the people? Do they require the abandonment of natural rights and individual freedom? The sense of conflict or contradiction between the individual and the collective, the one and the many, has been a constant source of theoretical difficulty. There have been numerous attempts in contemporary theory to deal with this dilemma by rethinking traditional categories such as the ‘humanist individual,’ ‘the mass’ as an aggregate of isolated units, or ‘the people’ as a substantial metaphysical entity. One approach, for example, is to explore a mode of subjectivity that in some way is always-already part of a de-essentialised community. The political question then becomes that of enhancing the capacities of this subjectivity for thought, action, self-expression and practical freedom. According to this view, the non-social individual is an abstraction. In order to overcome the duality individual/collective, further categories such as the ‘group-individual,’ ‘transindividual,’ ‘multitude’ or ‘generic humanity’ have been put forward.
This workshop will explore conceptions of the political subject and ask what may constitute collective subjectivities in the twenty-first century. Is the subject still the locus of a radical left politics of collective transformation and systemic change? What are the practical conditions requisite to the realisation of political subjectivity? Do changes in modes of production caused by cultural and economic globalisation and technological development provide an opportunity for emancipatory struggles, or do they rather make it more difficult to resist a hegemonic world-capitalism? What are the possibilities and limitations of articulating collective politics today? How can we theorise a collective that is more than simplistic unity, other than a ‘natural’ or national identity, and that remains inclusive and open to continuous extension? The workshop invites contributions that pose and critically examine these and related questions.
10.00-10.50 Charles Barbour (University of Western Sydney): ‘The Secret Society: Testimony, Perjury, and Oath in Derrida’s Later Work’
10.50-11.35 Miguel Vatter (University of New South Wales): ‘Dignity and Humanity: Averroistic, not Christian’
11.45-12.30 John Morss (Deakin University): ‘We Is A Thing: On the Political Grammar of Peoplehood’
13.30-14.15 Robert Boncardo (University of Sydney): ‘The Individual as Constitutive Power: Jean-Paul Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason‘
14.15-15.00 Sean Bowden (Deakin University): ‘The Expression of Collective Intentions in Unstructured Groups’
15.10-15.55 Daniela Voss (Deakin University): ‘Simondon and Transindividuality’
15.55-16.40 Andreas Hetzel (University of Hildesheim, Germany): ‘Transformations of Natural Right: Hegel’s Contribution to a Philosophy of a Non-Exclusive Community’
Where and when:
Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC), Deakin Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125
*Please ask at the reception for room details*
Monday, September 25, 2017
From 10.00am to 5.00pm
The seminar is free to attend and all are welcome.
For any inquiries, please email Daniela Voss: firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is hosted by the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation and the PHI research group at Deakin University.