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Alice Open Advanced Seminars

@ Room 1 - CES-Coimbra, Portugal - December 5, 2012 5:00 pm – December 7, 2012 7:00 pm

Entrance to Alice open Seminars is free and no registration is required.

5th December 2012 – 17h00-19h00

Title: Indian Democracy in the Hall of Mirrors

Speaker: Peter Ronald deSouza, Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Abstract: Any attempt to draw the big picture of Indian democracy must live with the question that perhaps it is too soon, in historical terms, to seek an overall verdict of “How is India doing?” What we are witnessing, in a Tocquevillan sense, is a social transformation on a large scale taking place because of democracy, one that is layered with each layer changing at different rates in different directions. Because of this methodological challenge the story of Indian democracy is often a story told of parts with each story having validity. There is a story of praise for the achievements of the last 65 years. India here is presented as an outlier for its remarkable achievements. There is a story of concern at the deficits and challenges that remain but ones which, in principle, can be addressed by Indian democracy. Here there is a sense of unfinished business which it is assumed, and hoped, right policy can address. There is a story of despair at the undemocratic trends that have emerged perhaps because, and in the name of, democracy. Here there is a sense of paradox, a lack of clarity at how to proceed in building democracy. What would ‘democratizing democracy’, as D.L.Sheth describes it, entail? Each story is valid and must be a part of the big picture. After a brief discussion of the first two stories the presentation will elaborate on the third story since there are lessons to be learnt, for the global debate on democracy, from the working of Indian democracy. Hence the hall of mirrors.

Seminar discussants: Alice Cruz and Bruno Sena Martins

Info em Português.

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6th December 2012 – 17h00-19h00

Title: From Universalism to Multiversalism: Decolonizing Western Concepts of Democracy

Speaker: Ramón Grosfoguel, Berkeley University

Abstract: This talk will discuss the implications of an “ecology of knowledges” for other ways of conceptualizing Democracy away from the Western Liberal conception of Democracy. The talk will be divided in two sections:  non-Western concepts of Democracy and the challenges the latter implies for a Multiversal as opposed to Universal world (Boaventura’s concept of ‘translation’ being one method to articulate the Multiversal).

Seminar discussants : Luciane Lucas and Teresa Cunha

Info em Português.

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7th December 2012 – 17h00-19h00

Title: On trust management: some lessons for history

Speaker: Elísio Macamo, University of Basileia

Abstract: In different areas and domains of scientific knowledge production much has been written about “trust”. It was mainly within the field of Economics, articulated with the notion of “social capital,” that great part of what we now know about the relevance of this notion to understand the structure of modern society has constituted itself as authoritative knowledge. The goal of this contribution is to articulate the notion of “trust” with African historical experience, so that we can extract something that Europe can learn from Africa, namely a virtue which is a dimension of “trust” and was analyzed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann: ‘expectation’ (the original German word is “Zuversicht”).

“Expectation” is the general state of trusting in the possibility of something we consider positive to occur, even though we are aware that little can be done to influence the flow of things. Luhmann uses this dimension of “trust” in order to distinguish it from the strict definition of “trust”, that is, on the ability to take risks. The distinction is close to what makes risk and hazard different (the first is a conscious calculation of the probability; the second is the effect to context exposure). Having this discussion as a starting point, this contribution intends to reflect on the important question, at the epistemological level, of the theory of History, which has been one of the greatest challenges in the relationship between Europe and Africa.

Seminar discussants: Catarina Gomes and Julia Suárez-Krabbe

Info em Português.

Go to Alice Agenda.