CfP: Liberalism and/or socialism: tensions, exchanges and convergences from the 19th century to today

Conference Dates: 21-22 October 2021

Submissions Due: 10 May 2021

This conference aims to re-evaluate the relationship between two major ideologies – liberalism and socialism – which seem to be contested nowadays, exploring the forms they have taken and tracing their development from their rise in the 19th century onwards.

Socialism seeing itself as a critique of economic liberalism, the two systems of thought emerged partially in opposition to each other. The extension of the State was sometimes cited as a means of emancipation of an oppressed class and sometimes as a means of subjugation of individuals. Antisocialist rhetoric was a platform for important figures of economic liberalism. Conversely, left-wing theoreticians and activists found in the critique of capitalism common ground uniting various, potentially conflicting, currents like syndicalists, social democrats, co-operators and Marxists. The main focus of study will be the way socialism and liberalism use each other to define themselves as ideologies. To what extent do they draw their identity from their adversaries’ representation and critique of them? How does the polarisation of debates serve political mobilisation and activism?

Papers may discuss, but are not limited to:

– Transfers of concepts and the blurring of systems: new liberalism, liberal socialism, libertarian socialism and market socialism in theory and practice

– Interpretations and reappropriations of liberal thinkers by socialists, of socialist thinkers by liberals

– Philosophies of history common to the two ideologies

– Socialism and liberalism faced with questions of identity and the influence of communitarians

– Liberal and socialist roots of working-class and radical movements: cooperatism, chartism, syndicalism, etc.

– Questioning of the socialist-liberal divide by conservative, anarchist, populist trends

– Theoretical and practical overlapping between socialism and liberalism in times of crisis (environmental, health, economic, political…)

Please send proposals (300 words maximum) and a short biography to and by 10 May 2021. You will be notified by 30th May if your paper has been accepted.

For further information please click here.

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