CFP: Which Property? Whose Capital? Property-Owning Democracy and the Socialist Alternative. 9th Braga Summer School in Political Philosophy & Public Policy

Submission deadline: May 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
July 3, 2018 - July 5, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Center for Ethics, Politics, and Society , University of Minho, Portugal
Braga, Portugal

Topic areas


CFP: 9th Braga Summer School in Political Philosophy & Public Policy

Which Property? Whose Capital? Property-Owning Democracy and the Socialist Alternative

Invited Speakers:

William Edmundson (Georgia State University)

Alan Thomas (University of York)

Guest Lectures:

Raul Magni-Berton (Sciences Po Grenoble)

When: 3-5 July 2018

Where: Auditorium of the  Instituto de Letras e Ciências Humanas (ILCH), University of Minho

Organization: This event is co-organized by the Centre for Ethics, Politics and Society of the University of Minho and the Philosophy Department of the University of York.

Convenors: Roberto Merrill, Daniele Santoro, Alan Thomas 



In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in issues at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy. In particular, attention has increasingly turned to the question of what kind of institutions and policies would be needed in order to create a significantly more just society. 

Following past summer-schools on topics such as justice between generations (2010), democratic virtues (2011), radical democracy (2012), basic income (2013), predistribution and property-owning democracy (2014), the ethics of banking (2015), the commons (2016), the philosophy of work (2017), the 9th Summer School will be dedicated  to property and capital in property-owning democracy and socialism.

Originally prompted by John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (1971, 1999), and later on in Justice as Fairness. A Restatement (2001) the concept of property-owning democracy has gained interest in the last decade as an an alternative to welfare-state capitalism.  

According to Rawls, the aim of property-owing democracy is “to disperse the ownership of wealth and capital, and thus to prevent a small part of society from controlling the economy, and indirectly, political life as well. By contrast, welfare-state capitalism per­mits a small class to have a near monopoly of the means of production” (2001: 139). 

The  widespread ownership of productive assetsas well as of human capital, is thus not about assisting the most disadvantaged by means of welfare policies and redistribution, but instead to enable citizens to realize their life-plans in a condition of relative economic equality and reciprocity. 

The idea of a property-owning democracy bears important similarities with other attempts among liberal democratic socialists and left-libertarians to contain the perverse effects of market concentration of wealth and  ensure a pre-distributive entitlement to citizens irrespective of their working status. At the same time, property-owning democracy has been criticized for assuming that the capitalist system can be effectively reformed to ensure social justice. 

These topics are of growing interest within academia, where they features prominently in recent debates in philosophy, history, law, political science, and economics. In this summer school we will discuss insights emerging from philosophical reflection on the nature of these topics and think about the normative principles guiding the organization of a property-owning democracy and its socialist alternative, as well as its possible public policies, such as the allocation of capital grants.


The course features two keynote speakers, who will each deliver two lectures, and several invited speakers.

In addition, we invite the participation of PhD students, postdoctoral scholars and established researchers to present their ongoing work on the topics of this year’s school. 

This year we will also host a symposium on Professor William Edmundson's book, John Rawls: Reticent Socialist, Cambridge University Press, 2017.


Send an e-mail to: with your name, institutional affiliation, and a short biography  by May 15,  2018. If you would like to present your research, either in the general session or in the symposium on Professor Edmundson's book, please send also a title and an abstract of 300-500 words. 

Registration fee 

The registration fee for presenters or attendance only is 100 Euros. A reduced fee of 70 Euros applies to participants with an affiliation from countries with a developing economy (for a list see here). We will provide a participation certificate to all participants. 

Payment by bank transfer to: 

IBAN - PT50003501710016732263015 

Bank: CGD

Swift code: CGDIPTPL

Name of the recipient: Universidade do Minho

Address of the recipient: Largo do Paço, 4704-553 Braga

NIF: 502 011 378

A proof of payment must be sent to Ms. Ana Maria Pereira: 

by June 15.

More information on the school program and  accommodation can be found on the Centre's webpage.

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