Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Two seminars by Laurence Davis at Maynooth

Details of two seminars by Laurence Davis at Maynooth, one on the contested meanings of democracy and one on the anarchist contribution to contemporary social movements. Both events are free and open to all.

Wednesday, February 6th
NUIM Dept. of Sociology seminar
Auxilia seminar room, north campus, NUI Maynooth; 2.45 - 4 pm

Will the Real Democracy Please Stand Up?:
Debating Democracy, Active Citizenship, and Politics of Work, Technology, and Social Equality at the Dawn of the 21st Century
The practice of democracy in ostensibly democratic contemporary societies is now the object of withering criticism from across the political spectrum. Conservatives advocate technocratic government to implement and administer a deeply unpopular politics of austerity, liberal democrats lament a growing “democratic deficit” and a crisis of citizen participation, and disaffected citizens across the globe have taken to the streets in their millions to denounce plutocracy masquerading as democracy and to call for “real democracy” in its stead. Underlying many of these criticisms, however, is a dubious unstated assumption: namely, that democracy is a singular and monolithic political project that has lost its way. Against this view, I argue in this paper that the concept of democracy is and always has been an object of fierce struggle between those at the centre and those at the periphery of political and economic power, so much so at the present moment in time that it is helpful to draw an analytical distinction between mainstream forms of democracy, in which rule by the people is practiced through political institutions that secure mass citizen consent to be governed over, and democracy from below, in which rule by the people is practiced through creative efforts to achieve mass self-government in all areas of life. In the course of the paper I will elaborate on these distinctive models of democracy, and consider their possible ramifications for the practice of democracy in everyday life, from the home to the workplace and the community.

Wednesday, February 13th
MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism seminar

Auxilia seminar room, north campus, NUI Maynooth; 2 - 4 pm

Political Ideologies and Contemporary Social Movements: the Anarchist Turn

Anarchism is one of the most vital impulses of contemporary radical politics, yet its role as a source of creative inspiration for resurgent grassroots radicalism - from the global Occupy and European Indignado movements, to worldwide anti-austerity and anti-capitalist mobilisations, interconnected alter-globalisation movements, deep green ecological and climate justice campaigns, student struggles, and countless experiments in co-operative production and distribution, alternative media and art, and collective living - is still widely unacknowledged or misunderstood. This seminar presentation will offer a very different view of the subject by identifying some of the integral connections between anarchist ideology and contemporary social movement practice.

Dr. Laurence Davis
is College Lecturer in Government at University College Cork, where he teaches in the areas of citizenship and human rights, democracy and citizen participation, political theory and ideologies, the governance of science and technology, and U.S. politics. A Series Editor of the new Contemporary Anarchist Studies book series published by Continuum/Bloomsbury Press and a founding member of the U.K. Anarchist Studies Network, his recent publications include Anarchism and Utopianism (Manchester University Press, 2009), co-edited with Ruth Kinna, and The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Dispossessed (Lexington Books, 2005), co-edited with Peter Stillman, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on political and social theory and ideologies, democracy and active citizenship, and the politics of art, work, and love.