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PSA 64th Annual International Conference

14 – 16 April 2014, The Midland Hotel, Manchester

Rebels & Radicals

Manchester is the setting for the PSA Annual Conference 2014 and the conference theme, Rebels & Radicals, reflects the deep political history of this beautiful Northern city.

“Manchester changed the world’s politics: from vegetarianism to feminism to trade unionism to communism, every upstart notion that ever got ideas above its station, every snotty street-fighter of radical philosophy, was fostered brawling in Manchester’s streets, mulls, pubs, churches and debating halls. Before it fled to London in the 1960s and became ‘Islingtonised’, the Manchester Guardian was Britain’s most radical liberal newspaper…Lydia Becker, the daughter of a Chadderton chemical works owner, pioneered the notion of votes for women with her National Society for Women’s Suffrage, a movement later radicalized and turned into a potent political agency by another Manchester family, the Pankhursts. The TUC first met here in 1868. Vegetarianism in the western world began in Salford in 1809 when the Rev. William Cowherd persuaded his congregation to give up meat and the concept swept Manchester; there were more vegetarian restaurants in the 1880s than today. The greatest military and economic super-power the world has ever known spent half a century sweating nervously, armed to the teeth and generally terrified of an idea born in Manchester, namely communism. Now that’s attitude!”

(Stuart Maconie, Pies & Prejudice, p. 113)

This impressive political pedigree makes Manchester the perfect place to ponder how those on the margins encourage change by prodding and pushing the mainstream.

While the conference welcomes work reflecting these familiar struggles at the margins, it also offers a place for research at the emerging edges of politics. For example, the behaviour of back bench MPs has had an interesting effect on governing, particularly under the coalition. Recent research on gender and party politics in western democracies testifies to the continuing concern over the representation of women, particularly ethnic minority women. As the European Union struggles to steer toward economically prosperity, accession of new member states threatens economic policy coherence as well as social policy development. Soon President Obama completes his final term in office and any hope for a progressive policy legacy appears to be overwhelmed by Congressional discord and an increasingly divided country – along lines of class, race and ‘family values’.

Other potential research questions under the Rebels & Radicals theme might include: How can critical theories of international politics offer new and interesting insights about the crisis of capitalism, revolutions across the world, ever increasing militarism, and incipient state security practices? Is it time perhaps to interrogate the so called ‘critical turn’ as now fully institutionalised and thus less able to address current crisis in new and imaginative ways? Can radicals ever find a voice in the elite-driven world of policymaking? Is participatory governance attainable? Is diversity and equality as ‘good practice’ in politics, and the discipline of political science, finally coming of age or already passé?  How have WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden changed our understandings of transparency, treason, patriotism and power? What do recent uprisings in Egypt and Turkey teach us about the (im)possibility of democracy or the difficulties of rapid political change?

Closer to home: With the next election looming, what is the possibility of a strong challenge from Labour?  Does the emergence of UKIP signal a demand for radical change or opposition to it? How will voters judge Britain’s first post-war coalition government when they return to the polls in 2015?  Can the identity of the ‘United Kingdom’ survive the challenges from the referendum on Scottish independence and yet another tense discussion on EU membership? What does the fragmentation of political competition tell us about British political ideology in the twenty first century?

These are pressing questions of contemporary politics and challenge us to contemplate and re-imagine the importance of Rebels & Radicals.

We look forward to welcoming you to Rebels & Radicals in Manchester!


Panel and Paper Proposals

We invited paper and panel proposals on any topics related to the conference theme, as well as on other topics spanning the entire range of political studies.

Full papers are expected to uploaded by 1 March 2014.

You are now able to book your place at the conference. The prices remain the same as the 2013 conference, and are as follows:

Standard Rates

Member = £220
Graduate member = £110
Non-member = £300
Graduate non-member = £150


If you are a publisher and would like to book exhibition space at the conference, an advert in the conference brochure, or inserts in the delegate pack, please take a look at our booking form. Any queries on this should be addressed to Louise Bates at the PSA.

The Conference Venue

The conference will be held at the impressive Midland Hotel. The venue is just 200m from Oxford Road Station, 800m from Piccadilly Station and across the road from Manchester Central.

Accommodation in Manchester

Working together with Visit Manchester, we have secured discounted hotel rooms across a range of hotels, which are available here.

For more information on what to see and do in Manchester, please see this handy guide!

For panel and paper queries, please contact the Conference Convenor, Professor Angelia Wilson.

Conference website:

Conference schedule:



‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia:

The Flow of Ideas:

Online Publications at:

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:





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