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Forget Open Society? Critical Conversations on a Contested Concept

Thursday, October 28, 2021, 9:00 am – Friday, October 29, 2021, 5:10 pm

While Open Society is, undoubtedly, a contested concept, we find at its very heart a commitment to open discussion and critical thinking. This critical ethos also applies to the idea of Open Society itself: What are its characteristics? How, if at all, can the concept be translated into practice? What is its potential and what are its limitations in today’s world? Is Open Society a ‘Western’ concept? In probing these and related questions, this is a conference on Open Society (as a philosophical/political concept) in the spirit of Open Society (as a critical ethos). As such, it seems apt to frame its overarching theme as a (deliberate) provocation: Forget Open Society?

Following a series of workshops and public events in its first year of existence, the Open Society Research Platform (OSRP) will host an academic conference to which we would like to invite everyone with a genuine interest in the concept of Open Society. The main purpose of this conference is to explore and open up further avenues for research on the idea(l) of Open Society in regional, national, international and global contexts. As such, this conference seeks to bring together and spark conversations between scholars, thinkers, and activists from various disciplines who will critically reflect on this contested concept, probe its potential and limitations in light of the global challenges that humanity faces, and carve out new ideas and insights of how to live with the tensions and frictions that an open society inevitably creates and constantly re-creates.