CFP: The Construction of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Discourses on populism and nationalism


Here’s a call of papers for a conference I’m organising in September 2007.

(The pdf is also available here on the Department of Political Sciences, University of Helsinki.)

Discourses on populism and nationalism

Call for papers

The Construction of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’:
Discourses on populism and nationalism

University of Helsinki, 7-8 September 2007

A key
theme in politics, which translates to many fields of study, is
identification * or disidentification. ‘Us’ and the sometimes equally
relevant ‘them’ are articulated at various levels from the family circle,
to the neighbourhood, local identifications, sub-cultural groups,
political parties and social movements, and further to the level of
nationhood and beyond. These may overlap or draw from each other in the
process of their articulation. One of the cases in contemporary Europe,
are the overlapping identifications with the EU, nation, region and the
locality. They may also deal with populism, exclusion and minorities.

A useful tool for recognising and understanding the logics operating in
these processes is discourse theory. The key note speaker at the
conference is professor Ernesto Laclau – an author of, most recently, On
Populist Reason (2005), and also Hegemony and Socialist Strategy; Towards
a Radical Democratic Politics (Verso: London, 1985, with
Chantal Mouffe), New Reflections on Revolutions of Our Time (1990), and
Emancipation( s) (1996). Laclau’s discourse theory have made major
contributions in the field of politics, but also history, literary
studies and sociology, as well as area studies. This is his first visit
to Finland.

The conference seeks to discover different cases, logics and phenomena in
the construction of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Papers addressing nationhood and
populism are particularly sought for, but other ‘we’ groups may also be
studied, with focus on either empirical or theoretical problems – or a
combination of both.

The aim of the conference is to allow a truly interdisciplinary forum for
the study of these questions. The conference language is English.
Abstracts for presentations (ca. 150 words) should be emailed to the
conference organiser by 15 March 2007.

The conference is organised by Emilia Palonen on behalf of the Academy of
Finland funded research
project Nations and Their Others: The Finns and the Hungarians since
1900, led by Heino Nyyssönen. It is supported by the Aleksanteri
Institute, the Department of Government and the Collegium Helsinki at the
University of Helsinki.

Dr. Emilia Palonen,
University of Helsinki
emilia.palonen@ helsinki. fi
emiliapalonen@ uk
(please use both addresses)
Tel. +358 40 5077198

I just came accross a reproduction of my conference call online:

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