"Political Implications of 'Social Phobia', 'Asperger Syndrome' and 'Antisocial Personality Disorder'"
Fourth Annual International Symposium of the Sussex Centre for the Individual and Society (SCIS),
at the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20-22 July 2009
Clinical terms like "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" are used to describe a category or categories of people
that do not fit the stereotype of man as a social being. Medical science has been instrumental in casting them as an anomaly that does not need to jeopardize
our all-encompassing social and political assumptions and theories. Is it justifiable, though, to relegate such cases to medicine and psychology rather than
adjust our social and political theories and policies to account for them? Social and political thinkers and politicians alike are prone to overlook or ignore the significance
of a segment of the population that, by definition, tends not to publicly voice its concerns and not to organize into political pressure groups.
This Symposium wishes to study the (anti)social reality and political implications that may be hidden by the clinical terms. Questions to be addressed include
(but are not limited to): How fundamental are the differences between those categorized to suffer from "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" or "Antisocial Personality Disorder"
and other human beings? What to make of observations and phenomena associated with "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" that
contradict or may challenge theories and practice of democratic equality and egalitarianism as much as the tenets of socialism and communitarianism? Why have so many politicians,
and particularly authoritarian rulers, been diagnosed, in retrospect, with forms of "Asperger Syndrome" or "Antisocial Personality Disorder"? What would a political order look like that takes "Social Phobia",
"Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" seriously as a constituent element of political organization? Has it rightly been proposed that people diagnosed with "Asperger Syndrome"
may constitute the next step in the evolution of humankind (see Gary Westfahl: "Homo
aspergerus: Evolution Stumbles Forward":
What do "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" mean for theories of deliberative democracy and Habermasian communication theories? Who makes the (as we know from Foucault, not unpolitical) decision what is in order and what is disorderly, what is the norm and what a deviation from it, what is a clinical condition or just a lack of empathy and sociability?
Are people suffering from "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" being criminalized? It has been estimated that 40-75 percent of prison populations have one or the other kind of such "disorders" - does society deal with such people by imprisoning them? Do laws and legal systems need to be reformed to take into account (anti)social reality? Some scholars argue that
"Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder" are opposite extremes, or are they different expressions of the same? Paper proposals, from any disciplinary background, are invited on all aspects of the political implications of "Social Phobia", "Asperger Syndrome" and "Antisocial Personality Disorder".
SCIS Symposia are small interdisciplinary workshop-style events with 15-20 participants. Each paper is allocated about an hour for presentation and dicussion. Previous SCIS Symposia took place in Brighton (UK), Pisa (Italy) and Paris (France), with high-level keynote speakers from Harvard, Duke, and King's College London.
Depending on the quality of papers, we hope that an edited volume will result from the Symposium. Papers given at the Symposium will automatically be considered for inclusion in such a volume. (Paper proposals on the topic submitted by authors unable to attend the Symposium are also welcome and will be considered for inclusion in the volume on a case by case basis.)
Please note that we cannot provide funding to participants. We will be glad though to issue letters of invitation on request to assist participants with applications to their usual sources of funding.
Argentina is a comparatively cheap destination, although flights are long-range from Europe and North America alike and may be expensive.
If you have to bear (part of) the cost yourself, you may want to consider spending your vacations in South America. The Symposium will take place during Southern winter and temperatures will be agreeable.
From Buenos Aires, you can easily travel in Argentina or onward, for example to Chile, Uruguay or Brazil.
Political scientists may be interested to know that a week earlier, from 12-16 July 2009, the triennial World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) will take place in Santiago de Chile. The theme of the congress is "Global Discontent?
Dilemmas of Change". You can easily go first to Santiago and come then to Buenos Aires.
Please send proposals for papers to be given at the 2009 SCIS Symposium in Buenos Aires and to be considered for inclusion in an edited volume to:
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 October 2008. (Earlier submission is highly encouraged and decisions about acceptance will be made as soon as proposals come in.) Thank you.
Sussex Centre for the Individual and Society (SCIS) www.scis-calibrate.org