CFP: New Moderate Narratives in Times of Extremism - Call for abstracts

Submission deadline: March 30, 2023

Topic areas



June 15 and 16, 2023 | Braga, Portugal  


Invited speakers:   

DANIELE ARCHIBUGI  /// CNRS and Birkbeck College
/// Stockholm University
MATHIAS THALER /// University of Edinburgh
MIHAELA MIHAI /// University of Edinburgh
NADIA URBINATI  ///  Columbia University
RICHARD BELLAMY  ///  University College London
SILJE LANGVATN /// University of Bergen
STUART WHITE ///  University of Oxford  

Call for abstracts to constitute a panel on "New Moderate Narratives in Times of Extremism" at the Braga Meetings on Ethics and Political Philosophy

Convenor: Pedro Góis Moreira ( [email protected]  

The 90s opened a time of optimism for proponents of constitutional democracy who were vividly discussing the possibilities of public deliberation and rational dialogue. However, these last few years have seen the re-emergence of radical and antagonistic forms of politics - populism, nativism, and left activism. We currently find ourselves in "an interregnum: a period of crisis during which several tenets of the [political] consensus (...) are challenged" and where "a solution to the crisis is not yet in sight" (Mouffe, 2018).  

This "crisis of liberalism" sets the tone of the discussions on the left and on the right. On the left, debates have centered around radical democracy, left populism, and on the means to further radicalize democracy (Mouffe 2018, de la Torre and Srisa-nga 2021). Radical democrats claim that they seek to reform liberalism rather than reject it, yet they are often more explicit about what they reject in liberalism than about what they wish to retain. On the right, many have been more candid, calling themselves "postliberals" (Deneen 2018) and embracing populist (Benoist 2017) or nationalist (Hazony 2022) alternatives.  

Liberal and moderate responses to these developments have been markedly defensive. On the one hand, several works have taken a critical approach to populism (Müller 2016, Urbinati 2019) and identity politics (Fukuyama 2018). On the other hand, there have been talks of how a militant democracy (Malkopoulou and Kirshner 2019) could be deployed to contain the extremes. But here, too, the discussion is more about the defensive response that liberals should adopt against the extremes.  

The questions that seem to be missing are the sort of new narratives and new self-understanding that moderates should develop in response to the extremes. In the 1930s, several liberal landmarks emerged, not just as critiques, but as insightful and original reaffirmations of the open society (Lippmann 1937, Popper 1944). What, then, is extremism and what unites it? What is moderation (Craiutu 2023)? What conceptions of democracy and politics should moderates develop in response to the extremes (Muller 2021)? The panel welcomes contributions related (but not limited) to the following questions:

  • What is extremism? What is moderation? How should we understand and frame this binary historically and philosophically?
  • What new conceptions of democracy and politics should moderates develop in response to the extremes?
  • What are the potential benefits and shortcomings of extremism/moderation? For instance, can extremism act as a "corrective"? Does moderation have depoliticizing tendencies?
  • What are some of the rhetorical tactics of extremism (e.g., demonization) and how can moderates counter them? Should moderates adopt militant democracy?

  Submission Guidelines: 

To apply, please send an email to [email protected] with the following items by Thursday, 30 March: name, affiliation, email, short bio (max 300 words), abstract title, abstracts (max 500 words), and five keywords.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)