Democracy, Human Rights and Peace: Contested and Reclaimed

Alkamisaika: keskiviikko 23. elokuuta 2017, 09.00

Päättymisaika: torstai 24. elokuuta 2017, 18.00

Paikka: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Lea Pulkkisen sali

Democracy, human rights and peace are all political and contested concepts. In many recent debates, however, they are treated either as commonly shared achievements or uncritically without any understanding of the use of the concepts in the past and what that entails. At the same time, European politics is currently witnessing open resentment towards democratic institutions and fundamental rights, including hostility towards minorities and migrants. Furthermore, concepts such as democracy and human rights are re-invented as with the contemporary emphasis on direct rather than parliamentary participation, or the expansion of security and defense considerations at the expense of peaceful considerations and tools.

The aim of this workshop is to bring analytical distance to the prevailing discussions through theorisation and historicisation of these politicised concepts. The role of scholars is to offer alternative perspectives to current debates. More importantly, in order to see behind such topical slogans as ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’, it is of paramount importance to analyse the politics behind them: How are such arguments made, by whom and with which theoretical foundations and rhetorical tools? This workshop proposes to do just that by encouraging interdisciplinary scholarly debate.

Keynote speakers:

Elina Pirjatanniemi, Professor of Constitutional and International Law, Director of the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University
Gabriella Silvestrini, Associate Professor in History of Political Thought, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli


Venue: Lea Pulkkinen Hall, Agora Building, Mattilanniemi 2

Wednesday 23 August

  • 11.15 Opening words and welcome address (Hanna-Mari Kivistö and Taru Haapala, University of Jyväskylä)
  • 11.30-12.30 Session I: Keynote Lecture. 

Chair: José María Rosales,

Elina Pirjatanniemi (Åbo Akademi University, Turku): On the Use and Misuse of Human Rights - Beyond Rhetoric

  • 12.30-13.30 Lunch 
  • 13.30-14.50 Session II: Human Rights, Minorities and Migration. 

Chair: Kari Palonen

Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark (The Åland Islands Peace Institute, Mariehamn): Security, Identity, Self-Government – Reflections on Similarities and Differences Between Greenland and the Åland Islands.

Tuija Parvikko (University of Jyväskylä): Camp as a Homeland. Reading Politically Old and New Migration Movements, Stateless and Human Rights with Hannah Arendt

  • 14.50-16.10 Session III: Politics of Parliamentary Debate. 
    Chair: Elina Pirjatanniemi

Francisco J. Bellido (University of Málaga): The Rhetoric of the Present in the Spanish Constitutional Debate of 1931

Hanna-Mari Kivistö and Taru Haapala (University of Jyväskylä):  The Origins of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: A Political Interpretation

  • 16.10-16.30 Coffee break
  • 16.30-18.30 Session IV: The Concept of Human Rights

Chair: Tuija Parvikko

Eyassu Gayim (School of Global Studies, Gothenburg): Human Rights, Democracy and Peace: The Implications of the New Challenges

Yannick Poullie (University of Kassel / University of Applied Sciences Fulda): Labour-Related Human Rights as a Means Against Exploitation

Marie-Christine Boilard (University of Jyväskylä): The Concept of Human Rights in International Relations: Perspectives and Contributions from Latin American Diplomats

Thursday 24 August

  • 10.00-11.00 Session V: Keynote Lecture

Chair: Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark

Gabriella Silvestrini (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli): Democracy and Torture: Redefining Concepts, Reinterpreting Practices

  • 11.00-12.20 Session VI: Re-Thinking Populism and Authority

Chair: Niilo Kauppi

Peter Langford (Edge Hill University, Ormskirk) and Valeria Giordano (University of Salerno, Fisciano): The Populist Disruption: Juridico-Political Reflections on Democracy, Human Rights and Peace

Manuel Toscano (University of Málaga):  A Contested Concept: Two Problems about Authority

  • 12.20-13.30 Lunch
  • 13.30-14.50 Session VII: Representation and Historical Accounts

Chair: Hanna-Mari Kivistö

Jeremy Kleidosty (University of Jyväskylä): Images of Representation in Islamic Political Thought

José María Rosales (University of Málaga): Thucydides’s Melian Dialogue and its Aftermath: Reflections on the Moral Uses of a ‘Historical’ Account

  • 14.50-15.10 Coffee break
  • 15.10-16.30 Session VIII: Peace and Security Re-Examined

Chair: Taru Haapala

Saila Heinikoski (The Åland Islands Peace Institute, Mariehamn): Non-Alignment and Demilitarisation – What Do These Concepts Mean in Today’s World?

Jaana Palander (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu) and Saara Pellander (University of Helsinki): Concepts of Security in the Finnish Immigration Policy

  • 16.30 Concluding discussion

Convenors: Hanna-Mari Kivistö hanna-mari.kivisto@jyu.fi and Taru Haapala taru.k.s.haapala@jyu.fi

Programme and more information (pdf)


Academy of Finland FiDiPro research project Transformations of Concepts and Institutions in the European Polity (TRACE), University of Jyväskylä http://www.jyu.fi/trace

Kone Foundation research project Demilitarisation in an increasingly militarised world, The Åland Islands Peace Institute http://www.peace.ax/en/research/research-projects

Civic Constellation II: Debating Democracy and Rights (Spain’s National Research Fund, FFI2014-52703-P) http://www.uma.es/civicconstellation

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