CFP: MANCEPT: "Environmental Ethics meets Political Philosophy: New Developments"

Submission deadline: May 21, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 11, 2023 - September 13, 2023

Go to the conference's page

This event is available both online and in-person

Conference Venue:

University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Environmental Ethics meets Political Philosophy: New Developments

The aim of this workshop is to bring together different perspectives on – and examine the linkages and tensions between – politics, political theory and ethics with respect to the environment. In the overlap between these different discourses that share many core concepts, new theoretical frameworks have arisen and are made visible in new developments in environmental thought. These draw, for example, on scholarship from other areas of philosophy such as environmental ethics and legal theory, such as providing non-anthropocentric reformulations of core political philosophy concepts such as rights, equality or justice. Some of these discussions are, in turn, picked up in political discourses and policies, such as the developments regarding rights of nature.

Yet, these different domains – of political thought, environmental ethics and democratic political practice – do not necessarily reinforce each other, as shared concepts are also contested and can lead to considerable differing (normative and practical) outcomes. For example, the competition between frameworks is well recognized regarding human rights where moral and legal-political or practice-based approaches are rivalling each other. A similar development can be recognised in the emergence of the rights of nature. Such rights are either understood as policy/legal instruments with a specific function in environmental policy and law or they function as normative expressions of non-anthropocentric values. Thus, a range of concepts central to political theory (such as rights) are engaged differently in the domains of political and legal practice concerning environmental concerns, which points towards further-reaching questions concerning the links and tensions between the domains of political ethics and politics.

At the same time, some tensions also remain between some new developments in environmental political thought and other areas of scholarship such as other areas of philosophy like environmental ethics (as well as other disciplines like ecology, human geography, ecological economics etc.) from which concepts emerged that have been reinterpreted and (newly) integrated into political thought, such as sustainability and biodiversity. That, in turn, points to a second set of further-reaching questions about how (and which) of these concepts are integrated into environmental thought.

Against this background, presentations part of this workshop can broadly fall into one of the following three major topics (including their critique etc.):

1.Theoretical developments in the form of (re)conceptualising long-standing political/legal philosophical concepts such as rights, territory or political authority in the light of environmental change.

2.Theoretical developments in the form of (re)conceptualising and integrating core environmental concepts such as sustainability or biodiversity into political thought.

3.The relationship between the political and ethics concerning these reformulated concepts or concerning a specific current environmental policy area. E.g., how does the framing of a problem as ethical or political determine attempts to address the problem? One such a specific area is ecological restoration which was a minor topic of political and environmental ethical debate (in Europe) until the drafting of the EU Biodiversity Strategy that includes obligatory legislation on ecological restoration and rewilding.


This workshop is as part of the annual MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, taking place in Manchester (UK) from 11th to 13th September 2023.

For this hybrid workshop, we invite paper presentations from environmental political theory and related fields. Scholars at any stage of their career are welcome to submit a presentation proposal. To apply please send an abstract (max. 400 words) to both convenors by 21 May 2023 to the email addresses listed below. Please also state your participation preference: in-person or online. Notification of acceptance of the abstract will be sent to the corresponding authors no later than on 9 June 2023. Full papers of accepted presentations will be pre-circulated to all workshop participants and each accepted paper will be assigned a discussant among the workshop participants.

Successful panellists will have to register as participants at the MANCEPT Workshops 2023. While we as workshop convenors cannot provide financial support, please note that current graduate students who will present a paper will be eligible to apply for a bursary. Please see the MANCEPT website for more information.


Dr Markku Oksanen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland), [email protected]

Dr Anna Wienhues (University of Oslo, Norway), [email protected]

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