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Workshops & Book Symposia

One of the aims of our Centre for Political Thought is to promote a thriving research culture that brings together and benefits our staff, students, and colleagues across the University. The circulation of ideas, of new and original research, and the promotion of interdisciplinary exchanges, are of paramount importance for the Centre’s activities. Throughout the years, we have organized many workshops and symposia on topics of importance academically and of social and intellectual relevance, around which we have gathered well-established scholars as well as young researchers from the UK, Europe and other continents. We are also keen to promote critical discussion of new books by inviting the authors to confront the friendly fire of a panel of commentators. Many of these critical exchanges have appeared as book symposia in top academic journals. As a place for scholarly, politically ad intellectually engaged exchanges, the Centre – in its own small way – stands as our ideal city of the mind.

REDIRECT Workshop on Inclusion/Exclusion in Representative Democracies - 29 February 2024

REDIRECT Online Workshop 29 February 2024

REDIRECT Workshop on Modern Representative Democracy - 9 February 2024

REDIRECT Online Workshop 9 February 2024

Representative Democracy: The early modern formative period - 7 February 2024

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Representing “Nature” and “Future Generations” - 6 December 2023

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Decentralised Federalism in Anarchist Political Thought - 22-23 June 2023

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Ideologies and the Authoritarian Turn in Global Politics - 13 June 2023

The workshop is organized by our Centre in collaboration with CAIS and the Network on Global Authoritarianism. Amongst the speakers: Fiona Anderson, Alex Dulkakis, Thoma Herberer.

Find the programme: Ideology and the Authoritarian Turn in Global Politics

Imagining Emancipation in the Atlantic World, 1750-1888 - 2-3 June 2023


Self, Family and Community: Eastern and Western Perspectives -  11 May 2023

Speakers: SUN Xiangchen (Dean of the School of Philosophy, Fudan University), Nathan Widder (Royal Holloway), Robin Durie (Exeter)

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Transcultural Modernities - 5 May 2023

Presentations by:

Professor Regenia Gagnier (Exeter University) on “Decolonizing Neoliberalism”

Professor Nan Zhang (Fudan University) on “Aesthetic Sources of Liberal Thinking”

Conditions of Autonomy – Legal, Political and Philosophical Perspectives - 20 May 2022

Programme and Report

Academic Life and Interdisciplinarity: Learning from Experience - 6-7 May 2022

A two-day event for the retirement of Professor Iain Hampsher-Monk

The nature and transformation of contemporary political regimes: Sino-European perspectives - February 2020

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Representation in Historical and Transcultural Perspectives – June 2019

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New Approaches to Political Cohesion in Democratic Systems – November 2017

Published as in the ‘Critical Exchange’ section of Contemporary Political Theory: ‘The Democratic Production of Political Cohesion: Partisanship, Institutional Design and Life Form’.

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Conditions of Agonistic Politics – September 2015

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Loren Goldman (University of Pennsylvania), The Principle of Political Hope, Oxford, 2023

Comments by Mihaela Mihai (Edinburgh), Matthew Festenstein (York), and Gary Browning (Oxford Brookes).

Christopher Gill, Learning to Live Naturally: Stoic Ethics and its Modern Significance, Oxford, 2022

Chaired by Chiara Meccariello (Classics)

Comments by Jack Tagney (SPSPA, Politics) and Ed Skidelsky (SPSPA, Philosophy)

Discussion opened by Gabriele Galluzzo (Classics) 

The symposium is jointly organized by the Centre for Political Thought and Exeter Classics.

Lise Herman (Exeter Politics), Democratic Partisanship: Party Activism in an Age of Democratic Crises, Edinburgh University Press, 2023

Chair: Dr Sandra Kröger (Director, Centre for European Studies)

Discussants: Jonathan White (LSE), Bice Maiguashca (SPSPA) and Andrew Schapp (HaSS Cornwall)

Jointly organized with the Centre for European Studies: articles | Centre for Political Thought | University of Exeter

Book Launch: Charles Masquelier (Exeter Sociology), Intersectional Socialism. A Utopia for Radical Interdependence, Bristol University Press, 2023

Chair: Martin Moorby (Exeter)

Discussants: Jeremy Gilbert (University of East London) and Bice Maiguashca (Exeter).

Marlies Glasius, Authoritarian Practices in a Global Age, Oxford, 2023 

In her new book, Professor Marlies Glasius (Amsterdam University) challenges the assumption that authoritarianism is necessarily a phenomenon located at the level of the state, and that states as a whole are therefore either democratic or authoritarian. Professor Marlies Glasius’s talk is preceded by an introductory talk on the Global Authoritarism Network, organized in collaboration with Centre for Political Thought, Centre for Advanced International Studies,  Centre for European Studies, and the Human Rights and Democracy Forum.

Symposium in Print on Chiara Cordelli, The Privatised State, Princeton University Press, 2020

A published version of the book symposium:  Jurisprudence, Volume 13, Issue 3 (2022)

Chiara started her academic career at Exeter as Lecturer in Political Theory. She is currently at the University of Chicago. Her book has won the inaugural prize (2021) for the best first English-language book of Political Theory.

Book Launch: Flexible Europe. Differentiated Integration, Fairness, and Democracy (Bristol University Press 2022), by Richard Bellamy, Sandra Kröger, and Marta Lorimer.

Kalypso Nicolaidis, Professor at the School of Transnational Governance at the EUI in Florence and Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, and Professor Jonathan White, Professor in Politics at the LSE and Deputy Head of its European Institute have kindly agreed to share comments and reflections. Dario Castiglione will moderate the discussion.

Joe Foweraker, Oligarchy in the Americas, Palgrave, 2021

Discussants: Gerardo L. Munck (Southern California), Robert Mickey (Michigan)

Book Launch: James Muldoon, Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim our Digital Future from Big Tech, Pluto Press, 2022

Whoever controls the platforms, controls the future. In Platform Socialism I set out an alternative vision and concrete proposals for a digital economy that expands our freedom. Powerful tech companies now own the digital infrastructure of twenty-first century social life. Masquerading as global community builders, these companies have developed sophisticated new techniques for extracting wealth from their users.

In the book I show how grassroots communities and transnational social movements can take back control from Big Tech. I reframe the technology debate and propose new ideas from the local to the international for how we can reclaim the emancipatory possibilities of digital platforms. Drawing on sources from forgotten histories to contemporary prototypes, I propose an alternative system and chart a roadmap for how we can get there.

propose an alternative system and chart a roadmap for how we can get there.

Book Launch: Ross Carroll, Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain, Princeton University Press, 2021

A roundtable-style event featuring comments from Emily Nacol (Toronto), Daniel Kapust (Wisconsin, Madison), and Robin Douglass (KCL).

Find the event and video of the launch: articles | Centre for Political Thought | University of Exeter

Robert Lamb, Property, Polity Press, 2020.

In this book, I discuss historical and contemporary theories of property rights. I explore some of the most important philosophical arguments deployed to conceptualise, justify, and criticise private property ownership. After I tackle the tricky conceptual issue of defining exactly what we mean we talk about private property, I introduce the radical case against it advanced by anarchist and socialist writers, those who put the justificatory burden on defenders of property. The question for these writers is, given that the institution of private property seems inevitably to involve rights of exclusion, as well as often significant economic inequalities, how can it be justified, and along what lines? I then analyse and assess some of the most important and influential arguments in favour of property rights in Western political thought, looking at the theories put forward by John Locke, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, G.W.F. Hegel, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls. Following this survey of various theories, I suggest that property can be justified, though not in the way some of its most ardent cheerleaders think, and that its justification seems to point towards the potentially radical reconceptualization of the terms of private ownership within liberal democracies.

Joanie Willett, Affective Assemblages and Local Economies, Rowman and Littlefield, 2021

Find the event: articles | Centre for Political Thought | University of Exeter

Book Presentation on 'Democracy From Below"

A Dialogue with James Muldoon (Exeter) and Steven Klein (KCL) on their new books on radical democratic movements and their impact on politics.

How have democratic movements achieved lasting, radical change? What can the Left learn from the history of democratic social movements? James Muldoon (Exeter) and Steven Klein (KCL) discuss their new books and the lessons for building democracy from below. Muldoon’s Building Power to Change the World: The Political Thought of the German Council Movement (Oxford UP 2020) carefully reconstructs the ideas and significance of the wave of revolutionary council democracy that arose after World War I, while Klein’s The Work of Politics: Making a Democratic Welfare State (Cambridge UP 2020) examines how radical social movements have used welfare institutions to challenge structures of domination throughout society. Together, their books provide vital insights into the possibilities for democracy today.

You can see the Dialogue on YouTube.

Alan Patten, Equal Recognition

Published as ‘Review Symposium’ in Political Theory (vol. 46, 1, 2018). The symposium was organized in collaboration with the Department of Politics and Public Policy at UCL. Alan Patten started his academic career at Exeter as a Lecturer in Political Theory. He is currently Professor of Politics at the University of Princeton, and was the editor of Philosophy & Public Affairs from 2010 to 2017.

Albert Weale, Democratic Justice and the Social Contract

Published in Political Studies Review (vol. 15, 2, 2015). The symposium was organized as part of the SWDTC Advanced Training Programme in theoretical and normative-oriented research. Albert Weale is Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at UCL.