On June 18-20, NASA and the University of Oldenburg will co-organize a three-day international conference (in Groningen and Oldenburg) on the topic of
“Political Participation in the Post-Democratic Era: Promises, Challenges, Illusions”
If the recent mid-term elections have told us anything, it is that participatory democracy in the United States is definitely on the wane. With a record estimate of $4 billion in campaign spending, big money was undeniably the ultimate winner in the latest Congressional race. And with roughly $1 billion of the total spending coming from “dark money” super PACs, the Daily Show sarcastically dubbed its coverage of the midterms, “Democalypse 2014: America remembers it forgot to vote.” Unsurprisingly, since money undeniably loves money, the DOW and S&P 500 closed at record highs the day after the midterms. The techno-demographic appeal of Obama’s first presidential campaign appears to have been a one-off, and the Occupy Wall Street movement seems only a faint memory now. Clearly, rumors of neo-liberalism’s demise have been grossly exaggerated.
So what does this teach us about the potential of social change in the post-democratic era and the future of peaceful global revolution? With democracy a fleeting illusion in Africa, the Middle East, much of Asia and Russia, and a European Union increasingly out of touch with its apathetic citizens, will the United States once more assume its former role as leader of the free world and ambassador of citizens’ rights? In the face of a growing income gap, a drop in social mobility and the increasing unaffordability of higher education, do we see signs of voters seeking ways to participate more actively in public debates? Is the much-touted democratization effect of social media technology really bearing fruit? If so, are these techno-networked voter-activists joining advocacy groups for specific interests? In an age of globalization, supranational unions, and the concomitant phenomena of immaterial labor and other forms of social alienation, what is the state of democracy in these times of increasing skepticism toward institutionalized political participation (cf. voter apathy)?
In order to discuss these (and related) issues, we invite participants in this conference to address alternative ways in which citizens have been claiming/reclaiming their place in political decision-making—in the United States, as well as in the wider American hemisphere, or, comparatively, between the United States and other parts of the world. Historical reflections and comparisons are also welcomed. Collectively, we want to explore these developments in political participation as harbingers of the emergence of a post-post-democracy.
A selection of revised and expanded papers will be published in the Interamericana Series (Peter Lang Publishing).
Deadline: March 25, 2015.
Evolution of an Academic Society
Evolution of an academic society
The Swiss Society of Americanists was founded in 1949. At first, it consisted mainly of Swiss anthropologists and ethnologists who conducted research in the Americas. Subsequently, the Society has included members from other countries and became open to many disciplines such as geography, art, history, literature, sociology, economics, etc. The Society brings together "people who are interested in the three Americas" to generate "better scientific and human knowledge of these three sub-continents, including their multicultural components" (art. 3 of the Contitution Articles of the SAG-SSA). Currently, it has about 300 members (individual and/or collective). Members come from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, archeology, art, education, economics, geography, history, human rights, law, philosophy, linguistics, sociology and urban studies. The Society owns an important thematic library hosted by the Geneva Museum of Ethnography located at the new and modern MEG building. The SSA is member of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS).
An Open Society: Culture and Science
The Swiss Society of Americanists, whose headquarters are in Geneva, aims to bring together people interested in the three Americas, seeking in particular the active participation of members from these regions, and to promote better scientific knowledge Relevant areas of human and anthropology, history, linguistics and ethnography. The Society assists with the publication of an annual newsletter, including articles in French, German, English, Spanish and Portuguese. The Society seeks to connect people who are interested in these studies.
SAG-SSA promotes the exchange of ideas and information among researchers from various disciplines who study the history, literature and culture of America. The Society promotes the exchange of ideas and information between its members through a newsletter "LA Revista", a forum for the exchange of concerns of the members, through an electronic newsletter, and through meetings, conferences, seminars, symposia, joint research projects, and any other means that the Society deems appropriate.
Today, the Society wants to increase its impact and open its activities to a wider audience. In addition to the strictly educational activities such as seminars, conferences and the publication of the Bulletin, considered essential to increase its offer:
• enrich the cultural production proposals and academic associative structures and unskilled individuals: support research and conferences or symposiums and artistic audiovisual documents to obtain a more complete image.
• create interfaces or areas of action to educate a wider audience about the issues raised and defended by the SSA.
An international network of research and scientific and cultural disclosure
The SSA brings together "people who are interested in the three Americas" to generate "better scientific and human knowledge of these three sub-continents, including their multicultural components". Currently it has about 300 members (individual or collective). Members come from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, archeology, art, education, economics, geography, history, human rights, law, philosophy, linguistics, sociology and urban studies. The SSA is a non-profit organization whose funding depends on the majority of contributions paid by its members, their projects also receive financial support from the SAHS. You can become a member of our Society and support our programs.
The Swiss Society of Americanists admits as working languages Spanish, Portuguese, English, German and French. To facilitate communication and debate, the Company proposes the use of Spanish, Portuguese or English.
Main activities of the SAG-SSA
:: The organization of the Study Days every two years
:: The publication of a scientific journal, the Bulletin of the SSA (No. 1-70) that became "LA Revista" since number 71
:: The organization of conferences and colloquia
:: The publication of a newsletter (electronic version)
:: Managing a large collection of bibliographic resources and documentation about Americanist studies
:: Development and maintenance of a dedicated website: www.sag-ssa.ch
:: An online forum where researchers from different backgrounds could meet, exchange ideas, share their points view and their data.