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Social Imaginaries

Social Imaginaries



School of Politics & International Relations

Queen Mary, University of London

Arts One, Room 1.28

10 am – 6 pm, Friday 17 April 2015

It is generally accepted that the various strands of thought associated with ‘post-structuralism’ have had an extensive impact on the study of politics in the UK and the United States over the past 30 years. However, it is also clear from a number of recent publications that there is renewed interest in the vexed questions of how to define post-structuralism and how to evaluate its overall significance. Indeed, it would be fair to say that some half-century after the publication of seminal texts such as Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, Gilles Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy and Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology, ‘post-structuralism’ remains an essentially contested concept. Both supporters and critics alike remain divided on whether or not post-structuralism represents a distinct tradition, and on the extent to which post-structuralist theory can enhance the study of politics.

We will use this workshop to take stock of the state of the art in post-structuralist political theory, while also identifying the key debates and issues that will shape the field in the future. The workshop brings together leading scholars from across the UK to address these questions, in order to provide a conceptual map of the politics of post-structuralism today. We expect the discussion to show how scholars diverge on several key points, while converging in common conviction that post-structuralism represents a distinct mode of theorizing, and one that remains crucially important for the study of political movements, practices and institutions.


Key themes and questions

The workshop engages substantive debates within the subfield. However, the presentations and discussions will also serve to introduce colleagues working across the disciplines of political science and international relations to a range of themes and questions about the status of post-structuralism today. These include:


Definitional questions:

What is post-structuralism and how does it relate to other major currents in continental philosophy such as structuralism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, existentialism and post-modernism?

How, and to what extent, does post-structuralism form part of the wider linguistic turn in 20th century philosophy?


Questions about distinct schools and traditions:

What have been the major contributions of (for example) the Foucauldian analysis of governmentality and disciplinary power, of the Essex School of ‘discourse theory’, of Žižek’s account of ideology, and of contemporary theories of rhetoric?

What is the significance of the recent critiques of semiotics and of discourse theory put forward by the ‘new materialist’ approaches and the ‘speculative realists’?

How, and to what extent, does post-structuralist theory overlap with and impact upon related approaches within the disciplines of political science and international relations, such as (post-)Marxism, Feminism, constructivism and the new institutionalism.


Conceptual questions:

How do post-structuralists address some of the major issues in the philosophy of the social sciences, such as the nature and scope of the political, the question of the construction of interest and identities, of agency and structure, and of the role of ontology and epistemology?

What are the meaning and significance of terms such ‘anti-essentialism’ and ‘post-foundationalism’?


Normative questions:

Can post-structuralism or post-foundationalism sustain a coherent normative theory of politics without falling into a performative contradiction?

What is the significance of the main normative approaches to emerge from post-structuralism, for example the tradition of ‘agonistic democracy’ and the revived interest in the idea of communism?



9.30-10.00 Registration and welcome

10.00-12.30 Session 1

Benoît Dillet (University of Loughborough): The Right to Problems: Post-Structuralism, Ontology and Politics

Gulshan Khan (University of Nottingham): Post-Structuralism, Ontology and the Political

Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary): Post-Structuralism and Representation

Chair: Mark Wenman (University of Nottingham)


12.30-13.30 Lunch


13.30-15.30 Session 2

Iain MacKenzie (University of Kent) and Robert Porter (University of Ulster): From Occupy to Activate: Or, the (Re-)Politicization of Post-Structuralism in Everyday Life

Mark Wenman (University of Nottingham): Rethinking Freedom: Political Agency after Post-Structuralism

Chair: Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary)


15.30-16.00 Tea/coffee


16.00-18.00 Roundtable: Poststructuralism and Political Theory Today

Simon Choat (Kingston)

Eric Heinze (Queen Mary)

Kim Hutchings (Queen Mary)

Caroline Williams (Queen Mary)

Chair: Mark Wenman


Register here


Places are limited, and registration is necessary. PSA members will be able to attend for free; non-PSA members will pay a small fee (£30/employed; £15 unemployed/students), which includes tea/coffee and lunch.

Funded by the School of Politics and International Relations

and the Political Thought Specialist Group of the PSA


Dr Lasse Thomassen
School of Politics & International Relations
Queen Mary, University of London
327 Mile End Road
London E14NS
United Kingdom
Tel: 0207 882 2848

Contemporary Political Theory Annual Prize winner: ‘Political theory in the square: Protest, representation and subjectification


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Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory



Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses Invites you to Submit your Paper

Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses ( creates a platform for dialogue about the processes, spaces, policies, practices and subjectivities through which resilience is seen to operate. As such, this journal draws together academic expertise from disciplines such as international sociology, geography, political theory, development studies, security studies, anthropology and law.

Find out why you should submit your paper to Resilience and read the full call for papers here:

You can also visit our Author Services website ( for further resources and guides to the complete publication process and beyond.

To keep abreast of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, sign up for table of contents alerts: (

Best wishes and festive greetings,
David Chandler
Editor, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses (


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Werner Bonefeld


June 15-16, 2012
University of Sussex, Brighton

Keynote Speakers:
Werner Bonefeld (York)
Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths)

While governments around the world have initiated austerity measures on a grand scale and have even been ousted in favour of technocratic administrations, pockets of sustained resistance continue to manifest themselves. Whether it is the populist Occupy movement, ultra-left theorists of Communisation, anti-cuts protesters, or even the rioters who took to the streets of London and beyond, the struggle against the apparent status quo continues. When taken in the light of the Arab Spring, questions must be asked in regards to the relationship between resistance and revolution. These movements managed to turn a tide of resistance into a force for revolution. Is this a paradigm-shift in the way this relationship must be thought?

Alongside these movements and despite the optimism generated by them, the power of the governments to crush, de-legitimise, and ignore opposition appears to remain. Some critics blame a lack of coherent message and agenda; others say that the forces of opposition are not dealing with the reality of the situation. This critique, however, does not have the last word. These forms of resistance, in their many guises, challenge the state’s belief that it has a monopoly on reality. They challenge the very legitimacy of the state to disseminate the status quo and, therefore, represent a radical alternative even if they do not, or cannot, dictate what the alternative may be. What role do the concepts of power and resistance play in our analysis of the current situation? Do they require a reassessment or does the contemporary conjuncture simply represent a reassertion of the same old forces in a different guise?

Power is one of the core concepts of social and political thought. Yet there is plenty of disagreement about what is, how it functions and how it should be contested. Our present conjuncture is witnessing many different manifestations of power and resistance. However, there is a lack of serious theoretical engagement with the current situation. We are seeking papers that engage theoretically with the current situation, and which emphasise the central roles of the concepts of power and resistance. Possible theoretical frameworks include, but are not limited to, theories of biopolitics, instrumental reason, critical theory, post-colonialism, discourse and democratic theory, structuralism and post-structuralism, recognition, soft-power, hegemony, world-systems, sovereignty, legality, and legitimacy.


Day 1: June 15, 2012 (All talks unless otherwise noted will be held in Fulton 107)

9-10 – Registration

10-1045 – Gianandrea Manfredi (Sussex), Understanding the structural form of resistance and the processes by which resistant social spaces are negated

1045-1130 – Jeffery Nicholas (Providence College/CASEP London Metropolitan University), Reason, Resistance and Revolution: Occupy’s Nascent Democratic Practice

1130-1215 – Svenja Bromberg (Goldsmiths), A critique of Badiou’s and Ranciere’s notion of emancipation

1215-1315 – Lunch

1315-1400 – Khafiz Tapdygovich Kerimov (American University in Bulgaria), From Epistemic Violence to Respecting the Differend: The Fate of Eurocentrism in the Discourse of Human Sciences

1400-1445 – Marta Resmini (KU Leuven), Participation as Surveillance? Counter-democracy versus Governmentality

1445-1515 – Coffee Break

1515-1600 – Alastair Gray (Sussex), Activity Without Purpose: Parrhesia, The Unsayable and The Riots

1600-1645 – Zoe Sutherland (Sussex) & Rob Lucas (Independent Researcher) – A Theory of Current Struggles

1645-1700 – Coffee Break

1700-1900 – Keynote: Werner Bonefeld (York) (Fulton Lecture Theatre A)

Day 2: June 16, 2012 (All talks unless otherwise noted will be held in Fulton 102)

1045-1145 – Registration

1145-1230 – Sarit Larry (Boston College), The Status of Vagueness: Mythical Events and the Israeli Social Justice Movement

1230-1315 – Mehmet Erol (York), Bringing Class Back In: The case of Tekel Resistance in Turkey

1315-1430 – Lunch

1430-1515 – Torsten Menge (Georgetown Univesity), A deflationary conception of social power

1515-1600 – Sarah Burton (University of Cambridge), Reimagining Resistance: misrule and the place of the fantastic in John Holloway’s anti-power

1600-1645 – Jorge Ollero Perán & Fernando Garcia-Quero (University of Granada), Can ethics be conceived as an economic institution? An interdisciplinary approach to the critique of neoliberal ethics

1645-1700 – Coffee Break

1700-1900 – Keynote: Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths) (Arts A1)

Please email to register and check for more information. There will be a £15 conference fee (£7.50 for one-day) payable in cash on the day to help cover expenses.




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It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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Socialism and Hope


From: Serguei A. Oushakine


Conference Program

Sots-Speak: Regimes of Language under Socialism
May 20-22, 2011
219 Aaron Burr Hall
Princeton University
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Friday, May 20

12.30     Welcome Address

12.45 – 2.45         Panel 1:   Linguistic Anatomies

Konstantin Bogdanov [Russian Academy of  Sciences, St. Petersburg] — “Soviet Language Culture in the Light of Ethnolinguistics”
Anastasia Smirnova [Ohio State U] — “Aligning Language to Ideology: A Socio-Semantic Analysis of Communist and Democratic Discourse in Bulgaria”
Calin Morar Vulcu [Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj] — “From Subject to Object of Description: Classes in Romanian State-Socialist Discourse”

Chair: Olga Hasty [Princeton U]
Discussant: Mirjam Fried [Czech Academy of Sciences]

3.00 – 5.15           Panel 2: Making Things with Words 

Choi Chatterjee [California State U, Los Angeles] — “Lady in Red: Bolshevik Feminism in the American Imagination, 1917-1939”
Samantha Sherry [U of Edinburgh] — “‘Bird Watchers of the World, Unite!’ The Language of Ideology in Soviet Translation”
Jessie Labov [Ohio State U] — “The Puzzle of the Yugoslav Nationalist/ Dissident from Helsinki to Dayton”
Alyssa DeBlasio [Dickinson College] — “Philosophical Rhetoric and Istoriia russkoi filosofii”
Chair: David Bellos [Princeton U]
Discussant: Irena Grudzinska Gross [Princeton U]

5.30 – 6.45    Keynote address: Jochen Hellbeck (Rutgers U), “The Language of Soviet Experience and Its Meanings” 

7.00        Reception    

Saturday, May 21

9.00 – 11.00   Panel 3:   Speaking Stalinese

Carol AnyTrinity College] — “Public and Private Speech Genres in the Soviet Writers’ Union under Stalin”
Ilya Venyavkin [Russian State University for the Humanities] — “Mystical Insight under Socialism: The Language of Political Confessions in the late 1930-s”
Anastasia Ryabchuk [National U of Kyiv Mohyla Academy] — “Parasites, Asocials, and Work-Shy: Discursive Construction of Homelessness and Vagrancy in the USSR”
Chair: Petre Petrov [Princeton U]
Discussant: Jochen Hellbeck [Rutgers U]

11.15 – 1.15  Panel 4:   Figures of Rhetoric

Elena Gapova [Western Michigan U / European Humanities U] — “The Party Solemnly Proclaims: the Present Generation of Soviet People Shall Live in Communism”: The Rhetoric of Utopia in Krushchev Era”
Karen Petrone [U of Kentucky] — “Afghanistan and the New Discourse of War in the Late Soviet Era”
Yulia Minkova [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State] — “Our Man in Chile, or Victor Jara’s Posthumous Life in Soviet Media and Popular Culture”
Chair: Ellen Chances [Princeton U]
Discussant: Eliot Borenstein [New York U]


2.30 – 4.45    Panel 5:   On the Literary Front

Maria Kisel [Lawrence U] — “Satirical and Philosophical Dimensions of Sots-speak in Andrei Platonov’s Fiction”
Natalia Skradol [Hebrew U / Ben Gurion University of the Negev] — “The Evolution of the Soviet Bestiary: Satirical Fables from Bednyi to Mikhalkov”
Eva Cermanova [U of Aberdeen] — “The Diktat of Language: Bureaucratic Paranoia in Havel’s Memorandum”
Baktyul Aliev [McGill U] — “Visuality in V. Narbikova’s Okolo ekolo”
Chair: Emily Van Buskirk [Rutgers U]
Discussant: Helena Goscilo (Ohio State U)

5.00 – 6.15    Media Presentation: Vitaly Komar, “Word and Image: The Duality of Sots-Art”

6.30     Dinner [Prospect House]

Sunday, May 22

9.00 – 11.15   Panel 6: Practices of Language

Jonathan Larson [U of Iowa] — “Sentimental Kritika: Hazardous Dialectics and Deictics in Socialist Criticism”
James RobertsonNew York U] — “Speaking Titoism: Non-Alignment and the Language Regime of Yugoslav Socialism”
Suzanne Cohen [Temple U] — “In and Out of Frame: The Soviet Training as Sots-Speak”
Julia Lerner and Claudia Zbenovich [Ben Gurion University of the Negev / Hadassah College of Jerusalem] —  “Talk and Dress: Adapting the Therapeutic Paradigm to Post-Soviet Speak”
Chair: Margaret Beissinger [Princeton U]
Discussant: Anna Katsnelson [Princeton U]

11.30 – 1.30    Panel 7: Discursive Remnants

Maria Rives [Yale U] — “Authoritative Discourse in Post-Authoritarian Russia”
Lara Ryazanova-Clarke [U of Edinburgh] — “Stalinism as an Auteur Project: Meta Sots-Speak in Contemporary Russian Public Discourse”
Gasan Gusejnov [Moscow State U] — “On the Vitality of Artificial, or Stalin’s Rhetoric Revisited”
Chair: Rossen Djagalov [Yale U]
Discussant: Caryl Emerson [Princeton U]

The Kremlinaires, the best in Soviet swing:


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When I go to work’

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Mapping Communication and Media Research: Conjunctures, Institutions, Challenges

by Juha Koivisto, Juha and Peter D. Thomas

218 p.
ISBN: 978-951-44-7920-5 29.00€
Publisher: Tampere University Press. TUP

Communication and media research has emerged in recent years as one of the most successful and dynamic fields of activity in the contemporary university. The explosive growth has prompted concern about a ‘lack of clarity’ of the field and its capacity to respond productively to current and future challenges. How can we account for the spectacular rise of communication and media research? What type of academic activity is it? Is it a ‘discipline’, an interdisciplinary ‘field’, a new ‘discourse’ or an ‘institution’ including different approaches?

Communication and media research is analysed in this study as a ‘hegemonic apparatus’, or a terrain of conflicting forces and organisation forms upon which social, cultural and political projects and values are produced, criticised and challenged. The authors argue that contemporary communication and media research can only be understood by referring to the concrete social, cultural and political contexts in which it occurs.

Drawing upon a series of detailed reports covering communication and media research internationally, from Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, the USA, the UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea, the study provides a global overview of the contemporary situation and assesses future challenges and opportunities. Key indices include university departments, professorships and research centres, doctoral studies, gender relations, research funding, internationalisation and publishing and the impact of university reforms.

This study will be essential reading for all those concerned with the current state of this successful ‘non-discipline’ and its significance for critical intellectual practice today.

Orders and further information are available here:

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Lost Generation


DPR10: Discourse, Power, Resistance Conference 2011


University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, 13-15 April 2011
Sponsored by the School of Secondary and Further Education Studies

Official DPR Conference Website:

The DPR conference returns to Plymouth in its tenth year, bringing together learners, teachers, researchers and policy-makers from the international education community to look at the crises in contemporary education, not just at post-compulsory level but across the board from pre-school to post-graduate. The need for change in education has never been more urgent. The conference will bring colleagues from around the world to think radically about education changing, and needing to change.

The conference will be divided into 7 streams:

– What is the point of education?
– Anticipative education: policy and practice
– Education in a funding crisis
– Widening participation: for real
– Education across the boundaries of faith: challenging fear and hatred
– The future of post-compulsory education: the internet and 
   the role of the university
– DPR: open

The DPR conference is a site for the radical critique of discourse, power and resistance within and beyond the discipline of education, looking at concerns which are currently troubling learners, teachers and researchers engaged at all stages from pre-school to postgraduate. The conference looks more widely at the impact on education of powerful interests in and behind the policy-making apparatus as they exert their influence to reshape the goals and ethos of learning, teaching and research. DPR transgresses inter-disciplinary boundaries, attracting scholars from across the humanities and social sciences. A continuing concern of the conference is the contested issue of research methodology and the related issues of the problem of knowledge.

The conference has an international reputation, drawing delegates from a wide range of the developed and developing nations and attracting world-class keynote speakers.

The DPR journal, Power and Education (, was launched in 2009.

For full information, including a Call for Papers and registration details, please visit the conference website:

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