The Centre for the Study of Democracy is hosting a two day conference, ‚New Perspectives on the Problem of the Public‘ in the Board Room, 309 Regent Street, 15-16 May 2014. This inter-disciplinary conference brings together researchers from communications and media, built environment, education, geography and political theory to discuss the implications of the rise of new strands of pragmatist, complexity and new materialist approaches to democracy and the public sphere. We will examine how non-traditional conceptualisations of the ‘public’ might be relevant to various fields of practice and policy making. What roles remain for institutions of governance in a complex, fluid, more pluralist world, less amenable to modernist conceptions of power? What are the implications if representation is increasingly understood as a barrier to the emergence of the public, rather than as a means of accessing it? Does it make sense to think about ‚public goods‘ such as health and education if the public can no longer be taken for granted? Could understandings of the public in political theory and policy making be enriched and problematised by their conceptualisations in other academic fields?
The deadline for abstracts (250 words) is Friday 21 February 2014.