The Centre for Humanistic Studies of the University of Minho (CEHUM) and the Centre for the History of Culture of the New University of Lisbon (CHC) are sponsoring an international conference on the ideal of equality of opportunity which will take place in Lisbon the 29th, 30th and 31st of October 2009. Participants to the conference include : Richard Arneson (University of California, San Diego), Vincent Bourdeau (University of Besançon), Matthew Clayton (University of Warwick ), Marc Fleurbaey (Cerses, CNRS), Axel Gosseries (Hoover Chair, University of Louvain-la-Neuve), Cécile Laborde (University College London), Ruwen Ogien (Cerses, CNRS), Martin O’Neill (MANCEPT, University of Manchester), Patrick Savidan (Sorbonne-Paris IV University), Adam Swift (Centre for Social Justice, University of Oxford), Bertil Tungodden (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration), Daniel Weinstock (CRÉUM, University of Montreal), Jonathan Wolff (University College London).
The meeting is of a scientific nature, envisaging dialogue among some of the most influential and original theorists of social policies of today. The common goal is to attempt to define the state of the art in the crucial discussion of Left-wing social policies in the 21st century, namely social equality, thus contributing to producing a well-balanced presentation of egalitarian political thought oriented for the future, as well as a well-defined ethics of responsibility necessary for the accomplishment of the social goals of the Left. The more specific goal is to contribute to clarifying the relation between equality of opportunity and meritocracy, in order to come to terms with the series of displacements that the notion and practice of « equal opportunities » has suffered since it came into the political debate in the post-French Revolution world.
The choice of the ideal of « equal opportunity » as the main issue of this meeting is due not only to its intrinsic relevance but also to its pertinence in the definition of public policies that embody the progressive aspirations traditionally associated with the Left. Today, some of those policies are no longer even perceived as Leftist in nature, as the « equality credo » has become so well-established. The strands of Liberalism, toleration and party politics all play into this and in order to determine how they do so in today’s world, it is the organizers intention to involve political agents in the proceedings.
The meeting comprises plenary sessions with guest speakers and discussants on normative issues regarding the foundation, justification and scope of the ideal of equality of opportunity in the main trends of egalitarian thought. These will be followed by workshops on more specific, disciplinary themes. Guest speakers and discussants will take part in these workshops, designed for graduate students and researchers to present 20 minute-long papers on applied topics such as : disabled persons, education, gender equality, fair discrimination in employment, immigration, parental partiality, socialism’s history, democracy in the business world, European Socialisms and the EU, among others to be established as paper proposals are selected. Contributions from all fields of the social sciences as well of social organizations on the field (charities and lobbyists, for example) are most welcome, as long as sensitive to normative political theory and to the distinction between ideal and non-ideal theory.
Guidelines for submission
This call for papers is addressed to graduate students and researchers interested in presenting their work on equality of opportunities at this conference. The conference’s language will be English. Abstract proposals should address one of the main issues related to the application of the ideal of equal opportunity and should be between 300 and 500 words in length. Abstracts should be suitable for blind review. Submission deadline is 1st of March 2009. Notification of acceptance will be provided by 1st of June 2009. Preferred format for all submissions is RTF attachment submitted by electronic mail to Roberto Merrill (email@example.com) and Carlos Leone (firstname.lastname@example.org) with “Equality of Opportunity 2009 Submission” in the subject line of the email. Papers should be prepared for publication by the time of their presentation.