CFP: Ideals and Reality in Social Ethics

Submission deadline: November 30, 2011

Conference date(s):
April 11, 2012 - April 13, 2012

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Social Ethics Research Group, University of Wales, Newport
Newport, United Kingdom

Topic areas



This is shaping up very nicely, with proposals for panels and individual papers across a wide range of areas of theory and practice -- from whether there's any such thing as a 'public sector ethos' to theethics of sustainability, from parenting to the usefulness (or otherwise) of institutional codes of ethics, from universal basic income to the relationship between access to transport and social justice, and from contrasting forms of realism in political theory to the very possibility of linking theoretical critique with social activism.


Those who theorise about social values (freedom, equality, justice) like to think their insights have public application and resonance.  Meanwhile policymakers and practitioners spend little time reading ethical theory.  Are these bad habits?  Is either side at fault?  Should we prioritiseideal values, or theoretical models, over the messy, impure reality of the social, political, economic and professional contexts in which decisions are put into practice?  Is it possible to combine due attention to both?  If so, how should this be done?  Is it possible, or desirable, to combine the nuanced language of theory with the differently complex imperatives of practice?

This conference aims to attract academics, activists, practitioners and others with an interest in the relationship between ethical ideals and the concrete demands and possibilities of social life.  Key themes and questions will include:

- (how) do theoretical insights actually enhance practice?
- ideal vs. non-ideal modes of theory
- the relationship between political ideas and the reality of political practice
- the relationship between ethical codes and actual practice, e.g. in professional contexts
- are notions of 'reality' and 'practice' always inherently contested?
- the relationship between descriptive and normative approaches to the study of politics and society
- the relationship between theory and activism

The research interests of the Newport Social Ethics research group include equality, citizenship, disability, migration, well-being, professional ethics, democracy, multiculturalism, environmental and animal ethics, social inclusion and exclusion, the ethics of dialogue and communication, and theories of social justice.  We would especially welcome submissions addressing any of these areas, from those working across relevant areas both within and outside universities.

We particularly welcome proposals of themed panels of 3 papers, and will be happy to consult on the development of ideas in this regard.

Deadline for proposals of papers (300 words) and panels (including a brief description and any paper proposals already solicited): 30 November 2011.

Registration will open in December 2011, with a non-residential fee expected to be £100, plus optional conference dinner.

A number of subsidised places will be available for postgraduate students and those without institutional financial support.

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