Project / event type: workshops
Organiser: Université Sorbonne

The concept of the State-society relationship in comparative perspective

Deadline: 04-12-2017
Location: Paris


The concept of the State-society relationship in comparative perspective
Doctoral Workshop

Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Institut du Monde Anglophone, 5 rue de l'Ecole de médecine, 75006 Paris

Deadline: 4 December 2017

The distinction between state and society has influenced Western European thought since the 18th century, when it began to crystallize in the context of the rise of the modern nation-state. In the 18th and 19th centuries the state-society relationship was commonly articulated in terms of autonomy and emancipation, tending towards interpretations of the relationship as dichotomous or even antagonistic. This emphasis led to the eclipse of the concept from about the middle of the 19th century (being considered, against the background of the “social question” for instance, as no longer adequate to “think” the increasingly complex interpenetration of state and society), but perhaps also contributed to its rediscovery as of the 1980s, particularly in the context of struggles with totalitarian regimes. Although the dichotomous, even antagonistic understanding of the state-society relationship that was revived in view of these struggles led to renewed critique of the concept, this did not this time lead to its abandonment. Rather, an increasing body of academic literature internationally has explored, modified, and attempted to apply (usually in research on “civil society”) a notion that, however it is defined, is now widely agreed to be foundational to the democratic order (Keane 1988/2010). This new association in political theory of the state-society relationship with liberal democracy, with its role in balancing the claims of pluralism (e.g., freedom and autonomy in forming individual and group identities) and citizenship (e.g., the norms of “civility”), has undeniably normative implications (cf. Rosenblum/Post 2002; Chambers/Kopstein 2009). Nevertheless, that has not prevented the use of this concept as a theoretical or heuristic framework in academic research, not only in the political and social sciences but also as an “ideal-type” (highly debated and even contested) for the analysis and interpretation of historical developments, social structures and institutions (cf. Kocka 2000; Gosewinkel 2011).

For those interested in a comparative perspective, understanding and applying this framework becomes only more complex as they struggle to orientate themselves within the academic discussion in other cultural/linguistic contexts. In other academic cultures the discussion may be confined to other disciplines (or seemingly absent altogether), or different categorizations and terminology may be used. Different problems and critiques may be formulated, or indeed similar ones using different language or different angles of approach. This is complicated by the fact that much of recent discourse on the concept has been mediated through the English concept of “civil society”. On the other hand, the conceptual history of the state-society relationship is marked by both convergences and divergences among “national” traditions in Western Europe.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together doctoral students at any stage in their research project (those in early stages are expressly encouraged to participate) to explore the state-society distinction/relationship as a theoretical or heuristic framework for their research. The aim is to “pool resources” in order to aid reflection on this concept and its application in research across national/linguistic and disciplinary boundaries and to increase awareness of debates and problematizations (and resources) outside of participants’ “home” culture. This will be done, not in abstract, but through participants’ reflections on the state-society relationship in relation to their own concrete research projects. How can this notion provide a framework (or why is it not usable) for analysis and interpretation of their material? Which conceptual or practical problems are they facing in the operationalization of this concept?

The workshop will be based on 20-min. papers or presentations followed by roundtable discussions. We will be accompanied in our explorations by Sylvie Le Grand Ticchi, lecturer (MCF-HDR) at the University of Paris Nanterre and a member of the Centre for German Studies and Research (CEREG) at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and Paris Nanterre. She has published diverse studies on state, society and religion in comparative perspective, e.g., in regard to constitutional issues (including a study of E.-W. Böckenförde), education, and political resistance (in former East Germany). We hope to be joined in addition by one or two other experienced researchers.

Proposals from all disciplines and fields of study are welcome; comparative perspectives are especially welcome but not a requirement. Research projects can include both historical and contemporary topics and need not be limited to Europe or defined by the nation-state.

Submission of proposals: Please send your proposal for a 20 min. paper or presentation as a PDF or Word document to Lise van der Eyk ( by 4 Dec 2017; the document should include the title of your presentation, an abstract of max. 300 words, and your full name and institutional affiliation. Proposals may be submitted in French or English. You will receive a response within approx. one week after the deadline to facilitate early booking of travel and accommodation. Funding is being sought in order to assist in covering traveling expenses for those unable to benefit from a reimbursement through their home institution, but cannot be guaranteed at this point.

Selected Sources:
The sources listed below are a few relatively easily accessible entry points into the discussion in different academic contexts; they can be consulted for more extensive bibliographies or for examples of research applications. PLEASE NOTE: The choice of sources below should not be considered as limiting the scope of the discussion!!!
Biziou, Michaël (2004). “De la société civile à la société civile mondiale.” Cités 2004/1 (no. 17): 13-23. DOI 10.3917/cite.017.0013.
Böckenförde, Ernst-Wolfgang (1992). “Die Bedeutung der Unterscheidung von Staat und Gesellschaft im demokratischen Sozialstaat der Gegenwart.” In Recht, Staat, Freiheit: Studien zur Rechtsphilosophie, Staatstheorie und Verfassungsgeschichte. 2nd ed., 209–43. Frankfurt a/M: Suhrkamp.
Chambers, Simone and Jeffrey Kopstein (2009). “Civil Society and the State.” In Oxford Handbook of Political Theory. Edited by Anne Phillips, Bonnie Honig and John S. Dryzek, 363–81. Available online:…/civil_society_and_the_state… (accessed 14/10/2017).
Colliot-Thélène, Catherine (1996). “Etat et société civile.” In Dictionnaire de philosophie politique. Edited by Philippe Raynaud and Stéphane Rials, 225–30. Paris: PUF.
DeLue, Steven M. (2015). “Civil Society.” In Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Vol. 2. Edited by Michael T. Gibbons et al., 531–42. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
Ferry, Luc (1999). “L’émergence du couple Etat/société.” In Histoire de la philosophie politique. Tôme IV: Les critiques de la modernité politique. Edited by Alain Renaut, 37–51. Paris: Calmann-Lévy.
Gosewinkel, Dieter (2011). “Civil Society.” In European History Online (EGO). Available online: 21/10/2017).
Keane, John (2010). “Civil Society, Definitions and Approaches.” In International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Edited by Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler and Regina List. Available online:…/jk_civil_sciety_definitions_ency… (accessed 21/10/2017).
Keane, John (1988). “Despotism and Democracy: The Origins and Development of the Distinction Between Civil Society and the State 1750-1850.” In Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives. Edited by John Keane, 35–71. London, New York: Verso.
Kocka, Jürgen (2000). “Zivilgesellschaft als historisches Problem und Versprechen.” In Europäische Zivilgesellschaft in Ost und West: Begriff, Geschichte, Chancen. Edited by Manfred Hildermeier, Jürgen Kocka and Christoph Conrad, 13–40. Frankfurt/New York: Campus.
Rangeon, François (1986). “Société civile : histoire d'un mot.” In La société civile. By Jacques Chevallier et al., 9—32. Paris: PUF. Available online: (accessed 21/10/2017).
Rosenblum, Nancy L. and Robert C. Post, eds (2002). Civil Society and Government. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [collection of essays discussing the state-society relationship as viewed through the lens of different political theories: classical liberalism, liberal-egalitarianism, critical theory, feminism, natural law, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islam, Confucian]


Basic information:
Deadline: 04-12-2017

Contat details:
Coordinator: Lise van der Eyk
Project / event type: workshops
Organiser: Federal Association Information and Advice for Sur

Call for Participation: Descendants of Victims of Nazi Persecution

Deadline: 05-01-2018
Location: Cologne


Call for Papers – Call for Participation in Two Working Groups on “Descendants of Victims of Nazi Persecution”

The Federal Association Information and Advice for Survivors of Nazi Persecution (Bundesverband Information & Beratung für NS-Verfolgte e.V.) (Federal Association) is calling for participation in two moderator-led working groups on historico-political education and psychosocial issues, respectively, in relation to the work of and to working with descendants of victims of Nazi persecution.

The two-day working groups will meet on 11/12 April and 7/8 June 2018 in Cologne. The results will be presented to the public on 11 October 2018 and be published (in German, English and Russian) on the Federal Association’s website once the project has been closed.

Both interdisciplinary working groups held concurrently will act as platforms for international researchers and professionals to exchange information on current issues concerning descendants of victims of Nazi persecution. We invite experts and committed individuals who have been investigating the issue of “descendants of victims” to participate in the working groups that aim to provide opportunity to share information on fields of work and discuss ways of cooperation. We intend to join efforts in order to develop and discuss new ideas, giving research and practice new impetus.

Forms and effects of passing on the traumatic experience of Nazi persecution within families have been the subject of debate for some time now. The descendants themselves do experience this transmission; yet, there is some controversy whether it is taking place in a particular form. Together with their parents, descendants of survivors have significantly shaped the reappraisal of National Socialism. Descendants of victims talk about Nazi crimes and their links to current forms of group-focused enmity in schools, at panel discussions, in old and new media, at memorials or on guided city tours. We want to examine in how far their present work could inspire future activity.
At the same time, descendants of victims of Nazi persecution have socio-psychological needs. There are different views on whether social continuities after 1945 and current discrimination issues play an important role in reappraising and coming to terms with the past. In this context, one should keep in mind what effects and impact the persecution has (had) on families, the children of the persecuted and on subsequent generations. It would be interesting to look at and compare continuities after 1945 and their effects on the intra-family transmission of persecution exposure at an international level. Another relevant question would be what course future remembrance work may take.

If you are interested in participating, please click on the respective link to view the Call for Papers for the appropriate working group:

Working group on “Psychosocial Issues” (Code: AG 1)

Working group on “Historico-Political Education” (Code: AG 2)

Please send an (1) abstract (max 3000 characters) as well as a (2) short bio (max 1000 characters) as PDF no later than 5 January to one of the following e-mail addresses, indicating which working group you would like to participate in (AG 1 or AG 2):; Speeches in one official language (German/English) are simultaneously interpreted into the other official languages. Within two weeks after the submission deadline the moderators will decide who is going to be invited to take part in the working groups. This decision is based on criteria such as internationality and diversity of approaches.
The Federal Association Information and Advice for Survivors of Nazi Persecution will cover travel and accommodation costs, provided that the German Travel Expense Law (Bundesreisekostengesetz) is complied with.

We are looking forward to your active participation.

AG 1 - Call for Papers:

Call for Participation: Working Group on Psychosocial Issues

Experiences, biographies as well as challenges of descendants of victims of Nazi persecution have become the subject of increased debate among experts. This working group sets out to promote international and interdisciplinary networking regarding psychosocial work in order to establish common issues and name differences in a coordinated manner. Up to now, there has been little international exchange on psychosocial aspects and needs of subsequent generations in different countries and on what role the cultural and national context plays in dealing with descendants and in their coming-to-terms with the past. We aim to overcome this deficit and to invite researchers and psychosocial workers (e.g. social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, educationists, nursing staff) to be part of this working group. We want to do our part in the reappraisal of this genocide of unprecedented proportions and its aftermath from a multi-generational perspective. This includes addressing practical aspects and issues often overlooked in theoretical debate. This is why we want to encourage exchange on how immediate descendants of victims and subsequent generations are affected by the persecution suffered by their ancestors.

In the late 1950s, the specialised psychosocial and medical public started looking into the effects of Nazi persecution, often discussing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and their impact on descendants of victims (i.e. their children, yet also subsequent generations). Recent scientific research refers to the possibility of transgenerational transmission of trauma through epigenetic mechanisms. We wish to discuss various approaches within an international and interdisciplinary working group.

Those interested in participating in this working group are invited to submit an abstract (max 3000 characters) addressing one or several of the questions listed below, accompanied by a brief bio.

•    Do descendants of victims of Nazi persecution share specific symptoms or patterns?
•    What role does trauma transmission play?
•    Are there any specific epigenetic patterns to families with a background of Nazi persecution?
•    Are there any accumulations of psychiatric and psychosomatic diseases?
•    Are there any current psychosocial needs?
•    What resilience factors help prevent or limit negative trauma effects?

•    In how far are offers and experiences from working with the first generation accessible to affected descendants of victims?
•    What offers or approaches from psychosocial work may be transferred and adapted?
•    Which groups of affected individuals have been overlooked?

•    Are there any specific victim/perpetrator constellations in subsequent generations?
•    What about particular sub-groups, e.g. individuals of subsequent generations that shamefully hide their descent from the union between victims and perpetrators?

•    What special competences, experiences and resources do members of subsequent generations have? What are the challenges of resource activation approaches?

•    Is there any present discrimination as return of the repressed?

Moreover, we encourage addressing questions not listed here or questions debating the issue further.


AG 2 - Call for Papers:

Call for Participation: Working Group on Historico-Political Education

This working group encourages scientific exchanges between international experts and professionals. It would be desirable to pool and combine available knowledge and identify methods to use descendants’ knowledge for historico-political education. Key points would be to review exemplary projects of remembrance culture or memorial education projects as well as to promote intergenerational dialogue.

A point worth considering would be what specific momentum descendants of victims of Nazi persecution may provide. To this end, it must be clarified what research has already been conducted in this field and what conclusions may be drawn for the future.

Immediately after the Second World War, many survivors of Nazi persecution engaged in active remembrance work. In the 1970s at the latest, descendants of victims (the subsequent generations) began significantly shaping the political and social reappraisal of National Socialist tyranny. Drawing on their specific knowledge, they have written books, made films and created art projects. The subsequent generations deal with the effects of the persecution suffered by their parents or grandparents and thus draw conclusions from the past to politically shape our present society.
Worldwide, descendants of victims have contributed to educational projects either as individuals or as part of organizations, drawing on their own coming-to-terms with Nazi history.

The notion of trauma and theories on transgenerational transmission of history can be made available for use in research and historico-political education. This includes the interaction between private and public remembrance culture, contemporary as well as national, European and international contexts. The aim is to work on historico-political education approaches considerate of the experience of those persecuted to inspire scientific and socio-political debate.

If you are engaged e.g. in historico-political education regarding victim groups of National Socialism or deal with the topics described from a historical, sociological or anthropological perspective, you are invited to participate in this working group. Historico-political education often looks at individual persecution backgrounds and compares them. The Federal Association wishes to encourage the exchange on differences and commonalities of these perspectives.

Those interested in participating in this working group are invited to submit an abstract (max 3000 characters) addressing one or several of the questions listed below, accompanied by a brief bio.

•    What concepts have descendants of victims of Nazi persecution developed to come to terms with the past? Are there any differences between countries?
•    What research on historico-political education has been developed and conducted by subsequent generations?
•    What role do subsequent generations play in institutional historico-political education?
•    What is their current contribution to the politics of remembrance – where may or should descendants act as initiators?
•    In how far are country-specific and family-biographical approaches taken into account in creating educational opportunities?

•    In how far may the perspective of the victims be integrated into historico-political education?
•    What transmission contexts need to be considered depending on the individual persecuted groups?
•    What challenges does the cooperation between descendants of victims and unaffected individual present?  

•    What possible developments does historico-political education work offer?
•    What momentum may descendants of victims give to future European or global remembrance work?
•    What historical contexts of remembrance and compensation culture after 1945 need to be considered?
•    What links do exist between public and private remembrance, between remembrance work and anti-discrimination?


Moreover, we encourage addressing questions not listed here or questions debating the issue further.

Further information can be found here:


The project is funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the Federal Foreign Office.

Association of Jewish Refugees Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e. V. / Action Reconciliation Service for Peace AMCHA Deutschland / AMCHA Germany Arbeitskreis für Intergenerationelle Folgen des Holocaust – ehem. PAKH e.V. ESRA Fundacji Polsko-Niemieckie Pojednanie / Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie e. V. JDC- Israel Eshel KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau / Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme / Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial Synagogen-Gemeinde Köln Živá paměť

Basic information:
Deadline: 05-01-2018

Contat details:
Coordinator: Adina Dymczyk