CfP: 2022 ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop on ‘Rethinking Autonomy – individual and collective’

The workshop proposal has been endorsed by the Kantian Standing Group of the ECPR but is by no means only for Kantians.  Paper proposals will be expected to respond to the workshop research questions – see details for the workshop below and here
To propose a paper, go here: (you will need to login to your MyECPR account)  Deadline: 2/2/2022.
Panel title
‘Rethinking Autonomy – individual and collective’
Panel Number:
Panel Chair(s)
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Panel Co-Chair(s)
Università degli Studi di Torino

Recent developments challenge extant conceptualisations of autonomy – individual autonomy in liberal political theory, and analyses of collective autonomy based on identity in political sociology and social theory. This applies to three developments in particular – the greater prominence of national sovereignty as a form of collective autonomy in public debates in several European countries (including the UK – sovereignty has been a key argument for Brexit – Poland and Italy); Covid 19 restrictions on people’s private lives and government expectations that citizens would autonomously self-manage their behaviour to comply with the restrictions; and the increasing emphasis on collective (global) political agency in order to address the ecological and climate crises. These developments have given greater urgency to liberal political theorists’ core interests : the nature, extent and normative force of individual autonomy, its relation to individual freedoms and rights, and how the latter relate to collective autonomy. Public debates regarding these developments also use arguments disputing liberal individualist assumptions. Regarding Covid 19 restrictions, for example, it has been argued that that individuals should delegate the authority over their personal lives to government or scientists. Debates regarding national sovereignty have used the argument that personal identities are formed and sustained by collective, traditional affiliations rather than by individual autonomous agency and that these affiliations therefore have a superior normative claim. These arguments can be theorised using conceptualisations in political sociology and social theory. Elias’ power-ratio figurational sociology between structure and agency and his argument that socialized individuals are constituted by mediated ‘second nature’ dispositions, and Bourdieu’s habitus in the context of his field theory are among the theoretical tools available to bridge individual and collective autonomy. Both approaches – individual autonomy in liberal political theory and identity and collective autonomy in political sociology and social theory – have complementary theoretical resources which could address the new challenges. Yet dialogue between these disciplines is limited to date. Political theory approaches based on Kantian moral autonomy link individual and collective agency in their categorical imperative/veil of ignorance thought experiments, but the extent to which these approaches are capable of addressing the new challenges remains largely unexplored. Individualist conceptions of autonomy have been questioned in two approaches in political theory, the relational approach to personal autonomy (Diana T. Meyers’ ‘autonomy competency’ is a good example) and interpretations of Kantian autonomy from a republican perspective.
The workshop seeks to bring these different approaches to autonomy together to address the recent challenges identified. The workshop explores the following questions :
To what extent
1. do the understanding and the normative claims of liberal individual autonomy need to be rethought ?
2. are thought experiments using Kantian moral autonomy still useful political theory techniques ?
3. do republican interpretations of Kant offer new insights into the relationship between individual and collective autonomy 4. does the relationship between, and the normative ranking of, individual and collective autonomy need to be re-conceptualised ?
Bourdieu, P., Wacquant, L.J.D. (1992), An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, Cambridge, Chicago Press University &Polity Press.                                                       
Bourdieu, P. (1998), Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, Stanford, Stanford University Press.
Buss and Westlund (2018). “Personal Autonomy”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Delmotte, F. (2010), Termes clés de la sociologie de Norbert Elias, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, No. 106, Norbert Elias et le 20e siècle: Le processus de civilisation à l’épreuve (avril-juin 2010), 29-36.
Elias, N. (2000), The Civilizing Process. Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations [revised edition of 1994], Malden: Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.
R. Forst (2013) “A Kantian Republican Conception of Justice as Nondomination”, in A. Niederberger and P. Schink, Republican Democracy: Liberty, Law and Politics. Edinburgh: EUP.
Hill (1989). “The Kantian Conception of Autonomy.” Christman (Ed). The Inner Citadel : Essays on Individual Autonomy. New York, Oxford University Press : 91-105.
P. Kleingeld (2020) “Me, My Will, and I: Kant’s republican conception of freedom of the will and freedom of the agent”, in Studi Kantiani 33: 103-23.
Meyers (2005). “Decentralizing Autonomy: Five Faces of Selfhood.” Christman and Anderson (Eds). Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 27-55.
Rawls (1999). A Theory of Justice.  Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Revised edition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.