9th Global Conference: Violence - Probing the Boundaries (Salzburg, Austria: March 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Rob Fisher/Inter-Disciplinary.Net
contact email: 

This conference is one of a continuing series that aims to bring together people from a wide range of disciplines to focus on a centrally significant aspect of our social lives: violence. On this multi- and inter-disciplinary basis we aim to produce an evolving body of thought as a contribution to the attempt to understand the nature and place of violence in our lives.

The main themes for the 2010 conference are outlined below: however, we are also pleased to receive proposals that extend or complement these.

1. What Counts as Violence and What’s Wrong with it?
~ Is violence best understood as necessarily physical?
~ If not - if, for example, ‘mental violence’ is not merely a metaphor - then how might the concept be sufficiently restricted so as not to lose all meaning?
~ Violence and force: physical force and the force of argument. ~ Violence and violation - of the person, of our identity, of our integrity; of the environment?
~ Why is violence wrong? Is it always wrong?
~ What does the phenomenon of human violence tell us about the nature of human social life? What does it imply about our understanding of ourselves as ‘rational animals’?

2. Contexts of Violence
~ Domestic violence; everyday violence
~ Offender groups and victim groups: how do these come to be configured?
~ Community violence: ethnicity and ‘race’; nationalism; political violence; religious violence
~ Institutional violence: the military - recruitment, conscription and training; varieties of law enforcement; educational institutions; hospitals and homes; the workplace
~ State violence - internal: the violence of punishment; economic violence?; surveillance and repression; detention without trial
~ State violence - external: pre-emption; self-defence; ‘humanitarian’ intervention; economic sanctions?
~ Violence for peace: resistance movements; human/animal rights ‘extremism’; assassination and ‘targeted killing’; ‘collateral damage’

3. Explaining and Understanding Violence
~ Does violence require explanation? Are there forms of violence - eg torture, genocide, extreme cruelty - that are beyond explanation?
~ What do different forms of explanation of violence - eg cultural, historical, psychological, religious, social - explain; and how might they be combined?
~ What are we doing when we try to understand the phenomenon of violence?

4. Representing Violence
~ How do representations of violence function in relation to acts of violence?
~ ‘Whose image is it?’ Ethical issues around consent, violation and the greater good in relation to making, exhibiting, publishing and curating images of suffering
~ Humour in the context of violence: catharsis or insult?
~ The aesthetics of violence; aestheticisation, incongruity and integrity
~ Violence, heritage, tradition and the creation of (national) identity
~ Heroism and martyrdom: “terrorism” and “suicide” bombers (eg Japanese pilots)

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 25th September 2009. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 5th February 2010.

300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Joint Organising Chairs:

Bob Brecher
Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics
Faculty of Arts, Brighton University,
United Kingdom
E-mail: R.Brecher@bton.ac.uk

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Leader
Freeland, Oxfordshire,
United Kingdom
E-mail: v9@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

The first Diversity within Unity was held in Prague in 1999 and focused on the theme of Human Community and Civil Society. The second conference was held in Oxford in 2000 and focused on the theme of Culture, Conflict, and Belonging. Subsequent conferences have met in Prague and Budapest and looked at the general theme of the Cultures of Violence.

Multiple eBooks and volumes of themed papers have been published or are in press from the previous conference meetings of this project. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume.

For further details about the project please visit:

For further details about the conference please visit:

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