The State of Conflict Conference 2019
A conference to explore political practice and social relations through the lens of conflict. Organised by the Public Mediation Programme of the University of Amsterdam.
The Public Mediation Programme (PMP) of the University of Amsterdam is pleased to invite you to take part in the third State of Conflict Conference. The Conference will take place on the 28th of November 2019 in Amsterdam. We hope, as in earlier years, to bring together a diverse group of practitioners, professionals, and academics to reflect for a day on Dutch society and institutions through the lens of conflict. The two guest speakers of the day are prof. dr. Maarten Hajer (Professor of Urban Futures at Utrecht University) and Marianella Sclavi (Conflict resolution expert and founder of the active listening consultancy firm: Ascolto Attivo srl). The day will be chaired by prof. dr. Alexander Rinnooy Kan.
The State of Conflict Conference 2019
Date: Thursday 28 November
Time: 09.30- 17.30
Place: University Library, University of Amsterdam, Singel 425, Amsterdam
The event is in English and Dutch.
Conflict and Democratic Renewal
This year we will take up a theme that has been implicit in prior discussions—the relationship between conflict and democratic renewal. As we reflect on questions about representation and public participation, about protest and civic space, about community and diversity and problem solving and policy implementation, we will ask in each instance how conflict might contribute to renewal—how it might help us “rebuild the ship as we sail it.” (Neurath, 1932)
We will look, for example, at the insights conflicts provide into what citizens want, what roles they see as appropriate, and how they experience the practices through which we currently address problems and implement policy. We will ask what opportunities for action these insights provide that might strengthen civic relationships and enhance the legitimacy of governmental practices. We will ask where and how civic space is under stress, how this stress shapes groups’ ability to provide critique and propose new topics for public discussion, and where innovation and the reaffirmation of commitments are contributing to renewal. We will ask what role conflicts play within communities and how this might contribute to addressing polarization and renewing relationships. We will examine new themes like knowledge intensive conflicts and new developments in law and policy and ask whether and how they are opening, or foreclosing, opportunities for democratic renewal.
As in prior years, we will try to build on the core insight that conflict can provide a useful perspective from which to view the challenges that citizens and public officials face in a diverse society committed to democratic principles. We hope that, as in earlier years, this will yield new insights into a very practical democratic question—how, not whether, to have conflicts.
Thematic break-out sessions
The day will provide ample opportunities to examine and learn together in thematic break-out sessions about how the kinds of challenges sketched above are shaping the need for and possibility of democratic renewal. The Conference will provide the chance to explore this question in a diverse group that comes from civil society, local and national government, and universities. The specific topics of the breakout sessions will be announced closer to the day of the conference and you will be able to choose the break-out sessions that interest you. To give you an idea of the character of discussion and the insights that were reached at the 2018 Conference, please take a look at the summary report on the State of Conflict Conference 2018.
The programme for the day is still taking shape and we will update you as further details are finalised. We look forward to seeing you on November 28th!