16th Jun 2016 - 17th Jun 2016
Grand Parade, University of Brighton
SWIP UK (Society for Women in Philosophy) Annual Conference 2016 organised in collaboration with CAPPE (Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics), University of Brighton
Thursday 16–Friday 17 June 2016
University of Brighton
In the current context of austerity, growing levels of inequality, insecurity and injustice mean that many around the globe are forced to eke out an existence under increasingly precarious conditions. Few remain sanguine in the face of this, and whilst some argue that precarity is necessary given current conditions many others express anger, frustration, resentment and a passionate determination to find alternatives. In the academy, the term “precarity” has gained currency across disciplines to both describe conditions and theorise responses. However, this conference problematises precarity as both an analytic tool and topic of academic investigation. Firstly, since precarity is structured unevenly via our social identities and positions it asks whether (and why not) those experiencing precarity can express this within the academy? To what extent can they be heard and responded to before the embedded hierarchies, structures of power and language dilute, deflect and silence their angry and passionate articulations, by twisting them via requirements for “reasoned arguments” as defined by others?
Furthermore we note that precarity has a more positive resonance when it describes the destabilisation of norms and binary frameworks; such as those that structure gender, sexuality, nationality and race. Here, precarity is seen as something to celebrate; a field within which to challenge authority and constraint. Additionally, as destabilisation – in terms of working and living conditions, and identity – precarity is celebrated as “flexibility” through the neoliberal paradigm, with fragmentation and uncertainty seen as conditions for creativity, choice, motivation and competition. As a consequence, we ask whether precarity’s radical potential needs to be revised.
Themes at the conference included but were not limited to:
· Precarity, casualisation, fragmentation
· Precarity in the university
· The effects of precarity on existing inequalities of gender, race, class, sexuality and disability
· Precarity and psychosocial
· Epistemology and claims to knowledge: reason and passion
· The validity of expressive modes: passion, rage and reason
· Precarity, destabilisation and fluidity of identity categories
· The ‘precariat’ as social category
The conference was attended by persons working in, among other areas, philosophy, gender studies, political theory, critical geography, international relations, psychology and sociology.
This event adhered to the BPA/SWIP UK Good Practice Scheme guidelines: http://bpa.ac.uk/resources/women-in-philosophy/good-practice