CFP: [International] Conference "Minorities and Power", University of Caen, France

full name / name of organization: 
Taoufik Djebali
contact email: 

“Minorities and Power in the English-Speaking World”

"Minorities and Power in the English-Speaking Countries" is the title of a conference to be held
at the University of Caen, Normandy, France, Nov. 20-22, 2008;
abstract submission by June 30.
In social sciences, power is characterized by the process of interaction between individuals within
the same society. In line with the Weberian tradition, many authors define power as the ability of
an actor to produce planned and desired effects on the behavior of other actors. On its most
basic level “power”, in Robert Dahl’s words, can be defined in the following manner: “A has
power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do”. In
political science, this definition has become paradigmatic. Robert Dahl also notes there are many
words to describe the same phenomenon: power, influence, authority, control, persuasion, force,
might coercion, and so on.
However, in recent decades the power relationships between actors (groups, institutions,
state…), have significantly changed. These developments are characterized by a metamorphosis
of power, changes in the patterns of collective action and, more importantly, by the emergence
of social and political identities. As a result, governing increasingly involves arbitrating between
different interest groups, institutions, and actors of all kinds, each with its own vision, its
rationality, its objectives, and strategies. The groups advocating ethnic, racial or religious
concerns have come to dominate the political and social arenas; they tend to determine the terms
of the political agenda. This development leaves less and less space to groups that are
mobilizing on the basis of claims of a vertical character, namely: social justice, the fight against
inequality and poverty.
One of the questions that arises is whether the commitment of these groups might ultimately
lead to strengthening democracy and social justice or, on the contrary, to furthering the
fragmentation of society, or even to creating a form of "tyranny of minorities". We can also
wonder if politicians do not contribute to strengthening this trend by capitalizing on the sense of
identity for electoral purposes. Last but not least, we may wonder whether this new form of
social movements, which seems to overshadow socio-economic divides, has reached its limits
and is now fostering the reinforcement of the social order and the status quo that they are
supposed to fight against.
The conference, “Minorities and Power,” will discuss the place of power in defining the conflictual
relation between majority/minority, separatism/accommodationism, and special
interests/general interest (…) in the English-speaking world.
The conference organizers welcome proposals from different fields of social sciences: sociology,
political science, civilization, history, and anthropology.

Please email your abstract with a brief CV to:
Deadline date: June 30, 2008.
Languages used: French / English

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Fri May 23 2008 - 12:52:05 EDT