Panels details > Panel 15

P15 - Contentious Publics: How conflicts create political community

PANEL Organizers
• Verloo Nanke (n.verloo@uva.nl), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

• Laws David (d.w.laws@uva.nl), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
• Metze Tamara (t.metze@uvt.nl), Tilburg University (Netherlands)
• Wolf Eva (eva.wolf@uantwerp.be), University of Antwerp (Belgium)

SUMMARY
Policy decisions that influence our physical or social environments are often preceded by conflicts and also lead to conflicts. The demands of dealing with conflict challenge the capacity of those responsible for governing in distinctive ways. A common response is to seek to deescalate the conflict and re-establish the status quo. Moments of heightened tension are more than annoying anomalies that disrupt the everyday order, however. They are often the moments in which a variety of stakeholders become engaged with each other around a problem or issue that has a public character. In this sense, conflicts evoke “publics” (Dewey 1927) and so keep democratic institutions “alive”. This panel seeks to rethink the notion of conflict as an opportunity for governments to engage with nascent and emerging publics in at least three ways. They can develop relationships with and learn from unruly ad hoc informal publics. They can collaborate with participatory publics. Finally, they can facilitate the involvement “professional” and “unprofessional” citizens. Our panel takes up Dewey's “search for the public” and explores how, where, and by what means, public conflicts, disputes, and controversies give rise to publics as invested stakeholders associate, contend, and negotiate around controversial public issues. We are interested in the classic sociology of conflicts, the role of visuals and objects, patterns of escalation, and repertoires of action and performance. We invite papers that analyse concrete episodes of conflicts that engaged unexpected, usual, unprecedented, or controversial publics. Our goal is to shed light on the process through which publics come into being as people take action about issues that affect them. How can we understand emerging publics through episodes of conflicts? How could governments engage these diverse groups into processes of decision-making? And what repertoires of action do publics develop to voice their stories of contention?

KEY WORDS
Conflict, publics, governance, contention

ROOM
Faculty, E2.6


SESSION 1 : 09/07/15 : 16:00-17:30
Chair: Nanke Verloo (n.verloo@uva.nl), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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