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Where Are We at with Republicanism?


Davide Pala (University of Manchester)

Jeannine Bringmann (University of Manchester)

Confirmed Speakers: D. Gädeke, A. Gourevitch, F. Lovett, C. McBride, C. McCammon, H. Richardson, M. Ronzoni, C. Schemmel, A. Schmidt

Pettit’s 1997 seminal book Republicanism revived a tradition of political thought that had for some time been obscured by liberalism: as the book’ title makes explicit, that of republicanism. At the heart of republican political theory is the idea of freedom as non-domination, that is, a kind of freedom whose antonym is dependence and servility rather than mere interference. On the republican view, freedom requires that people are robustly protected from others’ very capacity to interfere. Ensuring this, then, depends at least on the presence of appropriate institutions such as free states, where individuals equally enjoy citizenship (Pettit 1997; see also Skinner 1997; Richardson 2002; Bellamy 2007; Laborde 2008; Lovett 2010). Since then, republicanism has established itself as an autonomous and distinctive approach to morality and politics, which can be fruitfully applied to a vast array of issues in both the domestic and international realm, as the burgeoning republican literature of the last decades well-illustrates (Lovett, Pettit 2009).

Yet, many questions remain unanswered by republicans or have not been explored enough. For instance, republicans have not yet found an agreement on what counts as an act of arbitrary interference (Lovett 2012). Furthermore, republicans have only started exploring questions of distributive or social justice (Pettit 2012). This panel aims at bringing together scholars whose work engages with republicanism broadly conceived of, or that employs the concept of non-domination to address contemporary problems and challenges. The aim is to ascertain where we are at with republicanism, and, more ambitiously, to clarify some of its tenets.

We invite further contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • Is republican freedom a truly distinct kind of freedom or is it just a variant of liberal freedom that emphasises the secure enjoyment of freedom? Is non-domination a contradictory idea of freedom?
  • Does justice require the minimisation of domination or should republicans support a non-consequentialist approach to justice? Is non-domination the sole value that should be at the centre of republican understanding of justice?
  • How should republicans define the notion of arbitrariness? Does this notion inevitably lead to a moralised understanding of freedom?
  • What is the relation between non-domination and democracy?
  • Should we understand non-domination in strictly agential terms, or rather in structural terms too? If the latter, what does the notion of structural domination mean, precisely?
  • Is non-domination able to capture and denounce structural phenomena such as patriarchy or racism?
  • What kind of approach to social justice should republicans embrace? Should they be sufficientarian or (relational) egalitarians?
  • What role should rights and human rights play within republicanism?
  • Should republicans be internationalists, transnationalists or cosmopolitans when it comes to questions of global justice?

Submission Guidelines

If you want to apply, please submit an approx. 400-words abstract of your paper prepared for blind-review by the 3rd May 2021. We will respond within two weeks. All abstracts and enquiries about the workshop should be sent to We aim to allow for 15-20 minutes per presentation and 25-30 minutes for Q&A. However, this may be subject to change.

Please note that we especially welcome and encourage abstracts from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in political theory.

Registration will open in May. All participants must register in order to attend.

This year’s fees are

Academics: £45

Graduate students, retirees, and unaffiliated attendees: £20

Non-speaker/non-presenting attendees: £15

A small number of bursaries (for graduate students only) are available. Please state in your application to our panel whether you intend to apply for a bursary.

We look forward to reading your abstracts,

Davide Pala and Jeannine Bringmann