Social Movements and Social Ontology

July 25, 2022 - July 26, 2022

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University of New South Wales
Scuola Normale Superiore
University of Glasgow


University of Amsterdam
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Tel Aviv University

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Social ontology has emerged by examining the traditional concepts of race, gender, institutions, and collective agency through the modernized tools of metaphysics. It can be easily observed that a common thread in this endeavor is the idea that metaphysics need not be about the ethereal world of the scholastic philosopher. On the contrary, ontology can and should be concerned with pressing questions about the social world. Therefore, the underlying motivation of this workshop is entertaining the attempt of grounding the abstract realm of metaphysics to the concrete realm of social reality.

One way of doing this is by bringing the theoretical advancements of academically produced theory to the phenomena experienced and tackled by the social movements. Despite apparent benefits this move runs the danger of disassociating academia from the actual practices and theories of the social movements.

This workshop has a more ambitious goal: It aims at reversing the directionality of the relationship between academia and social movements. Instead of the latter being informed by modern metaphysics, we ask whether the opposite shall be the case. Therefore, can metaphysics learn from the actions and theories of social movements like, feminism, anti-fascism, anti-ableism, anti-capitalism, and environmentalism?


As suggested above, the relationship between social movements and theoretical philosophy may vary in directionality. The workshop invites entries that spell out the specific nature of this relationship, its limitations, or perhaps the structural incosummerability between the two domains. We particularly encourage submissions that lie in the intersection of these topics, which may include the following:

- What can the discipline of philosophy learn from the practices of social movements?

-What can the practices of social movements learn from philosophy?

- Social movements and self-criticism (e.g. homonationalism, femonationalism, pinkwashing).

- The metaphysics and normativity of social movements.

- The broader philosophical significance of particular social movements (e.g. the feminist movement and how it informed the metaphysics of gender).

- Applications of metaphysical notions (such as the realism/anti-realism debate, etc.) to the realm of social ontology.

- Social movements and the phenomenon of collective intentionality.

- Intersectionality as a radical theoretical framework.

- Regressive movements and “radical” rhetoric (e.g. incels, neo-nazis).

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Who is attending?

2 people are attending:

Marie Curie-Sklodowska University In Lublin

2 people may be attending:

Memorial University of Newfoundland
Simon Fraser University

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Custom tags:

#social movements, #social ontology