Conference on Republics and Republicanism. Theory and Practice. Heritage / Present and Future Perspectives

Venice International University, Venice, Italy
May 3-5, 2019

The aim of the conference is to discuss Republicanism in a broad, multidisciplinary and worldwide perspective, and to start up a series of such meetings to be held in Venice every two years. Themes covered: 1) Political theory and philosophy of Republicanism; 2) The historical manifestations of Republicanism in ideas, movements, regimes and the arts; 3) The study of contemporary political practices which are explicitly or implicitly republican and their future prospects. A more detailed description can be found here

Keynote Speaker: PHILIP PETTIT, Princeton University

Scholars in all fields are invited to apply for participation.

Paper submission

Please send your CV and an abstract with full contact address (including email), the title and a summary of the paper of approximately 250 words to
Deadline for submission: December 10, 2018
Notification of acceptance: by 15 January 2019

Organizing Committee

Shaul Bassi (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
Oleg Kharkhordin (European University at St. Petersburg)
Natalia Mazur (European University at St. Petersburg)
Luca Pes (Venice International University)
Giovanni Zanalda (Duke University)

Download the program of the conference

Theory and Practice. Heritage / Present and Future Perspectives
Venice International University, 3-5 May 2019

The aim of the conference is to discuss Republicanism in a broad, multidisciplinary and worldwide perspective, and to initiate a series of such meetings to be held in Venice every two years.

During recent decades, Republicanism has become a central concern in political theory and history. This body of thought emerged as the main alternative to Liberalism, when Marxism lost this role after the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is a renewed interest today, while searching for solutions to mounting populism and personalization of power; the issue of inequality and the crisis of democracies.

Republicanism - as a study of classical Athens and Rome and then Renaissance Florence, Venice and other self-governing units - has been branded as ‘a shared European heritage'. Its distinguishing feature has been to focus on the diverse political mechanisms to avert tyranny, on balancing power and attaining mixed government, and on ensuring forms of participation in the process of law-making, protecting from constraints and conceiving liberty as non-domination. Such practices have been key for experiments in democratic rule all over the world.

The conference wants to promote further theoretical and historical reflections on such experience, broadening the focus to non-European case-studies and perspectives, to late modern and contemporary times, opening to every possible discipline. Republicanism is not a dead body confined to the studies of the past: rather it is about rediscovering the past to offer novel solutions for the problems of today. The idea, hence, is to convert it into a frame in which to discuss and clarify contemporary issues and concerns and even, if possible, into a common background theory for existing empirical political practices, including eco-democracy, participary budgets, the defense of the commons and public space, communal practices and rights, and resistance to domination.

Keynote | Philip Pettit
The keynote speaker will be Philip Pettit, author of Republicanism. A Theory of Freedom and Government (Oxford University Press, 1997), a classic in the field. Scholars from all disciplines, from the Venice International University consortium and beyond, will be invited. The aim is to create a network of people interested in the project. The intent is to have biennial conferences in the the field and convert this event into a permanent workshop. A selection of the papers presented in the event will be published in a thematic issue of a major journal and/or in a book.

The main groups of themes of the conference will be:

1) Political theory and philosophy of Republicanism.
This is an area of contributions which is most conceptual. It has to do with meta-historical considerations. Its main concern would be to define what the republican tradition is all about, and what republican aims and forms of life are. If a coherent theory of republicanism is possible, then how does it differentiate itself from its rivals (including populism and liberalism)? Are there different regional or national models of the classical republican tradition? This section could include also issues like Feminism and Republicanism, and a discussion of Republican theory of private property/ownership and the commons.

2) The historical manifestations of Republicanism in ideas, movements, regimes and the arts. 
This includes all the approaches which involve rigorous historicization and historical circumscribing: from Greek and Roman Republicanism to the Italian Republics in the Middle Ages and the Venetian, Florentine and Genoese polities and then on to the Dutch and English revolutions; free cities in medieval and early modern Europe – from the Hansa experience to Ragusa; from the American founding fathers and the generation before them to the French revolution and the French and Italian 19th century versions of Republicanism. The US context could be also crucial to understand how republicanism transformed itself into populism. Art forms of Republicanism fall in this area too; including Republican rituals in specific time and place; and manifestations of Republicanism in literature too. A major target is consider also the manifestation of Republican forms and values in Asia and other parts of the world in specific periods.

3) The study of contemporary political practices which are explicitly or implicitly republican and their future prospects
This area could include both institutional and social practices from below. It could include the study of EU as manifestation of a republic in fieri. It could involve the study of eco-republicanism, participatory budgeting, citizens assemblies, participatory planning, welfare and work-places, forms of co-management, urban and other commons, movements for the defense of public water, of internet accessibility, of a public space.

Sustainable Social Security: Past and Future Challenges in Social Security

The European Institute of Social Security (EISS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special international conference.
Dates: October 11-12, 2018

Sustainability is often referred to as a major objective to be respected by social policy makers. Yet, what is to be understood by this principle? Is there something as a common understanding of the principle of sustainability, valid across various disciplines, in a cross-national setting and going beyond the mere economic-financial assessment of system sustainability (“i.e. financial and economic constraints to social security”), which is traditionally applied by international organizations such as IMF, OECD and the EU?

By merging the different views on sustainability (law, economics and social security), the ambition is to find out whether sustainability can be a guiding principle in designing a global model for social security, reaching in its turn to new global (legal) standards in the field of social security. The joint event is thus addressing an international (European) public and has the ambition to bring together established scholars in the field as well as the upcoming younger generation of social security scientists.

The conference will also be the occasion to celebrate the 50 years of the European Institute of Social Security; hence, we plan to bring together the past (founding generations of the Institute) and the future generations of social security scientists around the topic of sustainability (part of them being participants in the Young Research Event that will precede the conference).

Applications are now open

Venice International University
October 11-12, 2018

“Sustainable Social Security: Past and Future Challenges in Social Security”
50 years celebration European Institute of Social Security

Thursday 11 October

14.00-14.30: Registration participants

14.30-15.00: Opening and welcome
President European Institute of Social Security - Prof. dr. Franz Marhold (WU Vienna)

15.00-15.30: Social security in the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Prof. dr. Tiziano Treu, Catholic University of Milan

15.30-17.00: Sustainability and social security from a

- Legal perspective
Prof. dr. Ulrich Becker, Max-Planck-Institute for social law - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

- Economic perspective 
Prof. dr. Robert Holzmann, University of New South Wales - Fellow Austrian Academy of Sciences 

- Sociological perspective
Prof. dr. Joakim Palme, University of Uppsala

17.00-17.30: Break

17.30-18.30: Discussant: Prof. dr. Bettina Kahil-Wolff Hummer - University of Lausanne, followed by round table and discussion

18.30-19.00: EISS General Assembly
(members EISS)

20.30: Dinner

Friday 12 October

9.30-10.00: Social security in 2068: changing drivers in social security, upcoming challenges for sustainability
Prof. dr. Danny Pieters, KU Leuven

10.00-11.30: Changing work and sustainable social security
Prof. dr. Ruud Muffels (Tilburg University): "Ongoing labour-market transformations and their impact on types of social protection"
Prof. dr. Nuna Zekic (Tilburg University): "Sustainable work? On the ambivalence of law to the meaning of work"
1 discussant Young Researcher

11.30-12.00: Break

12.00-13.30: Changing residence and sustainable social security
Prof. dr. Norma Mansor (University of Malaya): "Migration in Southeast Asia and the effects on social protection"
Essi Rentola (Director Co-ordination Unit Finnish Ministry Social Affairs and Health): "Is there a future for residence based Social Security in the EU"
1 discussant Young Researcher

13.30-15.00: Lunch

15.00-16.30: Changing income and sustainable social security
Prof. dr. Daniel Pérez del Prado (Carlos III University of Madrid): "The 'Reserve Fund' as a mechanism to improve the efficacy and sustainability of unemployment benefits"
Prof. dr. Jose Jesus De Val Arnal (University of Zaragoza): "The new border of the welfare state in Europe"
1 discussant Young Researcher

16.30: Final conclusions
Prof. dr. Paul Schoukens, KU Leuven
Young Researcher

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