- The extent to which they engage seriously with the aim of the conference to question prevailing concepts and theories in the social sciences generally, and those pertaining to the Arab region particularly.
- The theoretical and empirical depth of the paper and the focus on innovative cases and locations.
1) Transformations of State and of Forms of Sovereignty
- New Sources of Legitimacy: What sources of legitimacy do states draw upon and how might these be contested by other forces? What impact does domestic power struggles, decentralization, devolution of state authority and federalism have on sovereignty as well as on political inequality, participation and loyalty?
- Socio-Political Actors: What socio-political actors are emerging within and across societies and states? What are some of the emergent forms of organization, alternative discourses and new imaginaries forged by social movements, labor unions, political parties, NGOs, community organizations, transnational social movement organizations, etc.? How can underprivileged groups such as refugees, domestic workers, construction workers, peasants, slaves mobilize? What is the nature of new or renewed demands, for dignity, social justice, citizenship rights and human rights?
- Military Establishment: What is the role of military establishments, especially in the case of civil conflict and fragmenting or failing states? What other types of organized armed groups exercise power and control and how are these forms linked to local, national or regional reconfigurations of territory and space and sovereignty?
- Regional, National and Transnational Actors: How is sovereignty exercised at different scales of political organization and how do these scales intersect to transform state power and forms of governmentality and sovereignty as well as to structure social space in particular localities?
- Citizenship, Political Participation, Human Rights: How is citizenship, belonging or disenfranchisement experienced and performed in the everyday lives of different groups in society, including the poor and the marginalized, the middle classes, civil servants, young men and women among others? How does the interplay of different social markers (religion, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) deepen the experience of participation or marginalization of certain social groups? What is the impact of these processes on political participation, social mobilization and rights?
- Securitization - Concepts and Practices: What is the relationship between processes of securitization and state sovereignty? What forces, discourses and practices are leading to the increasing securitization of various domains of state and society across the region? Is the concept of ‘human security’ still relevant in a context of escalating militarization of public and private space?
2) Social Space and Power
- Democratization of Public Space: How is the production of public space related to both state and transnational policies and political processes? How is sovereignty over space exercised and when does it lead to the democratization of public space versus social exclusion, disempowerment and deprivation?
- Virtual Space: How does virtual space - and different types of media - become forums for mobilization, identity formation and resistance, as well as impact the novel exercise of state sovereignty? How are these processes and policies legitimized? What kind of ideologies and theories - or other forms of knowledge production - are invoked to justify and legitimate them?
- Forms of Resistance (Social, Political and Cultural): What forms of resistance to state power and authoritarian practices are emerging across the region and what kind of change is being imagined and sought? How are these forms of resistance related to the multiplicity of sovereignties that are manifested in any particular locality or national territory?
- Mobility, Identity and Transformation of Space and Place: What forms of mobility and identity formation are occurring across the region and what kind of space and place transformations do they entail? How does the expansion of militarization and securitization relate to issues of political power and the need of protecting ruling elites from the threat of a stigmatized “other”?
- Neo-Liberal Effects and Social Justice: What role have political and economic policies, such as privatization, deregulation, and liberalization undertaken in the past decade played in reducing or furthering political participation and social mobilization? What are the implications for social justice, as discourse, as practice and policy?
- Spatial Reconfigurations - Urbanization and Ruralization: What are the mechanisms of security and militarization in cities, towns and regions, and their impacts on dwellers’ mobility and spatial practices? What is the impact of spatial reconfigurations, of urbanization and ruralization on natural environments, resources and landscapes, and their social and economic roles in the daily lives of dwellers?
- Gendering Space: How are state and non-state policies, practices of sovereignty and spatial politics shaping gender, space and place in the region? How are femininities and masculinities, and gender roles, re-articulated throughout these processes? Are conventional notions of public and private challenged and blurred and in what ways? What is the relation between gender, place and the political?
3) Political Geography of Refugees and Displaced Populations
Displacement and refugee movements have long been part of the Arab political and geographical landscape, however these flows have taken on bigger dimensions and a deeper urgency in the last decade. Hardly any facet of the region, from political economy to development to security to gender dynamics to education, to cultural and artistic expression can be studied in isolation from the effects of forced migration. Further, these desperate flows of people are linking Arab countries to one another, and also with neighboring states (near and far) in new ways. State sovereignty may be compromised or strengthened through the passage of refugees and displaced populations across their borders and a multitude of national and international actors are mobilized through such movements, creating complex realities on the ground. Issues to be examined within this theme could include:
- Refugee Camps Today: How do the politics of ‘encampment’ play out in different settings? This issue is related to how displaced populations are labelled, managed and monitored by states as well as through humanitarian intervention. How do camp dwellers relate to their compatriots who are not in camps and to host communities and how does humanitarian aid affect these relations?
- Violence and Displacement - Gender and Generation: The experience of violence in conditions of displacement is always mediated by many factors including gender and age-group. What forms of violence and what types of coping mechanisms exist among different segments of refugee and displaced populations?
- Genealogies and Cartographies of Displacement: ‘Becoming a refugee’ is not the result of one act (leaving home, crossing an international border) but the outcome a multitude of forced and chosen decisions. What genealogies, narratives and cartographies of displacement and refugeehood are produced through these journeys?
- The Discursive Production of Refugees: Refugees are produced through discourses and policies as much as through wars and armed conflict. Who is labelled a refugee and who is not and what ensues in terms of rights and process of inclusion and exclusion? What actors are involved in these processes in different contexts?
- Resistance, Performance and Cultural Production: What are the contexts in which refugees become politically active, productive and creative both individually and as communities? How do refugees represent themselves and their predicaments in art, music, literature, drama and other forms of cultural production? Are these expressive forms of resistance or accommodation?
- The Political Economy of Refugees: ‘Root causes’ of displacement reveal complex intersections of politics and economics that lead to the unmooring of populations from their homelands and settlements. What concepts are needed to understand these multiple causes of displacement? In addition, refugees are usually presented as a ‘drain’ on national economies and global humanitarian aid. Can refugees be seen as productive persons? How do they fit in the national economies into which they are inserted? What economic niches and roles do they exploit and inhabit? Can national development policies integrate into their practices planning for and with refugees?
- The Mediterranean - A Space of Dreams and Death: The Mediterranean Sea has emerged as the setting for the most dramatic and media-tic scenes of refugee movements, particularly in the past 5 years. A space of crossings for centuries, it continues to play its role as connector and as divider in the 21st century. The sea itself becomes and actor and a social space. How are North and South being reconfigured across the Mediterranean? How does the focus on the Mediterranean reflect or deflect world attention from the sources of conflict and displacement?
Application Instructions and Conference Information
The ACSS invites proposals for individual paper presentations or for organized panels. The Conference Planning Committee will review all applications and select the final list of presenters.
We strongly encourage applications in Arabic, however proposals may be submitted in Arabic, English or French and should be in the language of the planned paper and presentation. Simultaneous translation will be available at the conference.
1) Individual Applicants
To submit a paper proposal, please complete the online application form including the cover sheet and an abstract of 1 page (or approximately 500). See this page for guidelines on how to write a successful abstract.
Please note that applicants can submit a co-authored paper proposal. However, if selected for inclusion in the conference, the ACSS can only guarantee financial support for the primary author. The ACSS will decide if it is possible to provide support for a second author on a case-by-case basis after the selection decisions have been announced.
2) Organized Panels
The ACSS strongly encourages individuals or research institutions to submit an organized panel on the themes of the conference. Each panel should include 3-4 papers and the panel organizer should also present a paper in the panel.
To submit a panel proposal, please fill out the online cover sheet for a panel submission. In addition each panel participant should fill in the individual paper application (the cover sheet and abstract).
To submit a proposal for an organized panel, click here.
Deadline for submissions is September 6, 2016. Selection decisions are announced by October 6, 2016.
Each applicant may present only one submission. Multiple submissions by the same author(s) will result in the immediate disqualification of the applicant.
Selected participants are required to submit their completed papers by February 2, 2017. If the paper is not received by this deadline, the participant will be removed from the conference program. All conference abstracts will be posted on the ACSS website and made publicly available, and paper presenters may be asked to revise their abstracts for posting. In addition, the full conference papers will be made available to all the conference participants on a password protected webpage or Dropbox as well as on a USB distributed at the conference.
After the conference the ACSS may invite a number of papers for inclusion in one or more publications, which may include translation of the paper into different languages. Individuals are free to accept or decline to take part in these planned publications.
Conference presentations should be 15-20 minutes per paper and may be presented in Arabic, English or French. Simultaneous translation from English and French into Arabic and from Arabic to English will be provided. The conference site will be A/V equipped. Additional details on the composition of individual panels will be available after selection decisions are announced on October 6, 2016.
Paper presenters will be covered fully for economy-class travel and accommodation costs. The ACSS will provide up to three-four nights’ accommodations, based on flight availability and travel itineraries.
If not selected to present a paper at the conference, please note that applicants are encouraged to register to attend the conference, which will be open to the public.
Questions? Please contact: email@example.com.
To APPLY click "Further official information" below and fill the online form.
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