CFP: Ostracism in Ancient and Contemporary Times

Submission deadline: December 31, 2023

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Dear Colleagues,

In Ancient Greece, ostracism represented a practice of exclusion and a legalized form of exile from the city which political leaders could employ as an extreme remedy against their rivals’ accumulation of personal power. In virtue of that procedure, any citizen who, because of his eminent political powers, talents, and/or material resources, was perceived as a potential threat to the stability of the polis could be banished by popular vote from his city-state for several years. At the time, no permanent loss of status or social stigma used to befall those who suffered ostracism at the end of their exile, nor were they deprived of the right to enjoy income from their property at the time of coming back to their native cities. By attempting to restore an idea of “symmetric” equality, ancient ostracism could be understood as a strategic tool designed to strengthen democratic citizenship and a more active participation of the dēmos in political life. 

The aim of this Special Issue is to explore possible philosophic articulations of the idea of ostracism in ancient and contemporary times by attempting to answer the following questions (and not only these): 1) Can ancient theories of ostracism contribute to an understanding of supposed contemporary practices of exclusion? Could phenomena like so-called cancel culture be framed in terms of “modern ostracism”? If so, which evaluative criteria might determine—or fail to determine—the liberal democratic legitimacy of the social and/or political uses of that practice? What relationships might be established between democracy, populism, and practices of the removal of ideals and persons? How do supposed practices of ostracism of powerful leaders work in the digital era? Can they be justified? Is being banned from a social media a form of ostracism? Finally, could philosophical theories of emotion frame modern cases of ostracism? 

Dr. Elena Irrera
Guest Editor

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#ostracism #exclusion #democracy #populism