Breaking the Norms

Conference of the International Graduate Programme (IGP) of the Cluster of Excellence

6.-7. October 2011

Goethe-University, Campus Westend, Frankfurt am Main

Reflecting the heterogeneity within the International Graduate Programme (IGP) of the Cluster of Excellence on “The Formation of Normative Orders” at the Goethe University Frankfurt, the conference theme will be explored from different disciplinary perspectives. Workshop 1 takes a historical-political approach to examine how existing norms are broken in revolutions and are re-evaluated through third party interventions in their immediate aftermath. Workshop 2 explores the normative and meta-ethical foundations of ascribing accountability to norm breakers, focusing on cases in which it was a matter of luck that norms were broken. Panel 3 focuses on the question of breaking the norms from a feminist/gender perspective.

All workshops will take place at IG Farbenhaus, Campus Westend, Goethe University Frankfurt, 6th/7th October 2011.

Poster (pdf): click here...

Programme (pdf): click here...



Workshop 1: Breaking the Norms NOW: Revolutions and beyond

Room 254, 6.10., 14.30-19.00

Matthias Debald, Mariana Laeger, Michael Lidauer, Carolin Retzlaff, Alex Solovyov, Irene Weipert-Fenner

Revolutions are generally believed to be carried out by the people in pursuit of a radical change of the existing political orders in the name of freedom and justice. This workshop aims at looking beyond this romanticized idea of revolutions, in order to critically question the breaking and re/formation of normative orders. The workshop will be held in two panels: part one will analyze revolutions as moments in time, generating a potential transformation of the existing norms. In the second part, the workshop will investigate the role of the external interventions that take place in the immediate aftermath of contemporary revolutions.

Panel 1: Revolutions: Historical, contemporary and actors’ perspectives

Karl Marx described revolutions as the locomotives of history – but are all revolutions the same? How do revolutions break, negotiate, transform, or replace normative orders? Do revolutions have their own norms? How are they organized, and who pulls the strings? The panel proposes a comparison between the historical accounts of revolutions and their contemporary counterparts, such as the ‘color revolutions’ and the recent revolutionary events in the Middle East. In addition, the panel will incorporate an insider’s perspective familiar with the mechanics of revolutions. 

Larbi Sadiki, PhD, Department of Politics, University of Exeter, UK
Bertel Nygaard, PhD, Department of History and Area Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark
Ivan Marovic, CANVAS, Co-founder of the Serbian youth movement Otpor!, Belgrade








Panel 2: Revolution – and what’s next? The role of external actors in the making of new orders

As soon as the streets are empty, meeting rooms fill with "international experts", who discuss issues of public security, governmental reform, and civil society participation with local stakeholders. International organizations provide assistance to re-write constitutions, amend legal frameworks, and organize elections. This panel invites different positions on the immediate interventions after revolutions in order to ask: Which norms are transferred after revolutions? How adaptable are the norms promoted by international actors? And who owns the process?

Gilles Saphy, Senior Independent Election Expert, Frankfurt/ Main
Dr. Thomas Markert, Secretary of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg
Dr. Armin Rabitsch, Senior Election Advisor, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Warsaw








Workshop 2: Moral Luck als Testfeld der Metaethik

Room 454, 6.10., 14.00-18.30 & 7.10., 09.30-13.30

Martin Ebeling, Agnieszka Kochanowicz, Michael Münch

If we blame an agent for breaking a norm, we presuppose that the agent was responsible for his actions. Usually, we take people to be responsible for things under their control. Cases of moral luck, however, contradict this assumption. Their main characteristic is their ability to show that we blame and praise agents for features beyond their control. The central question in the moral luck debate, therefore, is under what conditions praise and blame are legitimate. The panel adds a new perspective to this debate, as it is mainly concerned with the meta-ethical background assumptions of the Moral Luck debate. Can these background assumptions illuminate how we should understand Moral Luck cases? Can Moral Luck cases indicate the advantages and disadvantages of meta-ethical positions?

Dr. Michael Kühler, Center for Advanced Studies in Bioethics, University of Münster
Gerbert Faure, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
PD Dr. Julius Schälike, Department of Philosophy, University of Konstanz

Dr. Katharina Bauer, Ruhr-Universiy Bochum
Dr. Mario Brandhorst, Department of Philosophy, University of Bielefeld
Prof. Dr. Jens Timmermann, School of Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies, University of St Andrews

Workshop 3: Whither Feminism

Room 457, 7.10., 09.00-12.00

Birte Löschenkohl, Judith Mohrmann, Verena Risse

This panel will investigate the future of feminism, now that important points of its criticism have become widely accepted, if not turned into legally or socially binding norms. Presently, however, feminism seems to experience a backlash/counter movement which expresses itself in two different ways. While on the one hand it is often claimed that feminism is outdated for it has not taken up new fields of activism, one can observe, on the other hand, that traditional role models for women, such as mother or housewife, enjoy a certain comeback.
The panel discussion aims to address these issues from different angles. One perspective explores the self-conception of gender studies and the place for feminism in political philosophy and real politics today. Another empirically informed one deals with the question of whether (and if so, why) there is in fact a movement towards traditional gender norms and female roles today. The third perspective focuses on current debates in neurosciences so as to challenge the uncritical reproduction of outdated opinions about sex/gender differences and heteronormativity.

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Paula-Irene Villa, Sociology/ Gender Studies, LMU Munich
Discussant: Chris Köver, Missy Magazine, Berlin/Hamburg

Dr. Nina Power, Philosophy, University of Roehampton, London
Discussant: Eva von Redecker, Department of Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin

Prof. Dr. Anelis Kaiser, Psychology/ Gender Studies, ZIFG/ Technical University Berlin
Discussant: Greta Wagner, IGP, Goethe University Frankfurt


Workshop 3: Whither Feminism, Part I

Workshop 3: Whither Feminism, Part II


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