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IFDTCH 2024 : International Conference on CHANGE


When Jun 13, 2024 - Jun 15, 2024
Where Belgrade, Serbia
Submission Deadline Jan 31, 2024
Categories    philosophy   sociology   social change

Call For Papers


International Conference on CHANGE

June 13-15, 2024
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

With the confirmed participation of Étienne Balibar, Axel Honneth, and Jonathan Wolff.

Change is one of those fundamental notions in social sciences and humanities that appears intuitively intelligible until one tries to provide a clear definition of the term. What constitutes change? To what extent is change the ‘other’ of being? When is change possible and is it always desirable? Do people crave certainty and stability or is “love of change a weakness and imperfection of our nature,” as John Ruskin famously said? Is change possible, or was the epigram right: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?

One significant aspect of change is its inherent complexity. While the causes of change may sometimes be easy to identify, the actual trajectory and outcomes are most often not unilinear and are difficult to foresee. Social systems are so intricately interconnected that a seemingly minor alteration of rules can trigger a cascading series of effects that reverberate through the entire fabric of society. Navigating change requires a nuanced understanding of the interplay between the initial factors and the ripple effects they may generate.

One way of approaching the theme of change within social systems is through the optic of systemic contradictions, but the most fruitful discussions arise when we contemplate change as the product of human agency. Political movements, revolutions and technological innovations are marked by reflexive decision-making of individual and collective actors directed towards changing societal norms, often experienced as unjust or dysfunctional. The driver of change is social engagement, the articulation of a shared understanding of what the most pressing societal problems are and how to overcome them. Not all forms of engagement are progressive in the usual sense – some aim to institutionalize authoritarian norms or restore traditionalist and conservative ones. On the other hand, not all calls for restoring “old” norms must mean conservative change – witness contemporary leftists struggling to restore discarded elements of the post-war welfare state.

The study of change demands a serious (re)consideration of, among others, the following issues:

What is the fundamental nature of change? This question seeks to explore the ontological status of change and whether it is an inherent and universal aspect of reality.
What are the underlying causes and catalysts of engaging in and for social change?
How can we effectively mobilize and engage diverse communities in supporting and driving social change? What constitutes the cognitive and emotional common ground that enables us to articulate a project of (social) change?
What potential challenges and obstacles might arise during the process of realizing social change? What types of social domination – suppression of systemic contradictions and social engagement – exist today and how does one challenge them?
What constitutes a conservative vision of social change, as opposed to a progressive one? Are these terms helpful or are they obfuscating reality? How about other binaries, such as reformist/revolutionary, radical/moderate and procedural/substantive change?
Our present order is sometimes seen as resting upon an ideology of constant change which protects the fundamental structures from real change. Can one engage in changing the “tyranny of change” in a manner that doesn’t call for restoring old norms?
We welcome papers that address these and related questions. We invite both theoretical and empirical papers, employing a comparative or case study perspective, coming from all disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.

Please send proposals (up to 300 words; submissions for presentations of up to 15 minutes) to by Jan 31 2024. Applicants will be notified of their submission status by Feb 29 2024.

Abstracts should be sent in a Word document. The document should include the presentation title, abstract, and the applicant’s full name, institutional affiliation, and contact information.

The conference will be held in Belgrade, Serbia on June 13-15, 2024. For additional information, please contact

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