[Foucault-L] 'Taking Control', 12 March 2011, SOAS - Registration now open

Taking Control: registration now open
SOAS, University of London, 12th March 2011

Keynote: Professor Jodi Dean

Other speakers include: Professor Peter Hallward, Dr Alberto Toscano,
Dr Paul Blackledge

This conference is concerned with control. On what it means today –
under globalised late capitalism – to take or be in control of
institutions, whether political, economic, or academic. We are
concerned with theorising how to take control, and on what to do when
we take it. We want to focus not on the dangers of control – since
the corrupting effects of power have been amply theorized – but rather
on what it means to take responsibility and effect change, and what
this change could be.

That is, how can a vision for society be enacted in practical terms?
What is the role of democratic participation in this process of
mastering social change? And how do we remain accountable as we take
control. Does taking control mean working against, within or beside
the existing institutional structure?

This question remains under-theorised in contemporary critical
political theory – which often remains limited to the critique of the
status quo. Without the impulse to take responsibility and take
control, this critique becomes meaningless – it results in a de facto
acceptance. Where projects like the ‘Idea of Communism’ stop, this
conference seeks to take the next step. It must be situated along
work such as the Turbulence Collective’s ‘What it means to win’ volume
and Erik-Olin-Wright’s ‘Envisioning Utopias’.

We are clear that the idea of communism remains important and a
project to be fought for. However in the strategic question we are at
an impasse, how to take control and implement a new communism? The
vanguard model seems discredited, but the model of the multitude seems
non-committal, a mere waiting for things to gradually come together,
resulting in a de facto withdrawal from the social. Even more than
this impasse, in times of late capitalism the very meaning of what
being in control entails is no longer clear. We want to move from
thinking about the idea of communism to implementing it.

The event is free to attend but registration is essential. Please
email takingcontrol2011@xxxxxxxxx

Organised by ES: Philosophy Research Collective

With support from the Department of Politics and International
Studies, SOAS

Department of Politics, Goldsmiths

For more information see http://takingcontrol2011.wordpress.com

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