Upcoming Events

The Liberal Herald Annual Conference: Demos vs. Polis?: Responsible Citizenship in Post-transitional Societies



Conference Presentation & Journal Contribution 


Demos vs. Polis? Responsible Citizenship in

Post-transitional Societies


Deadline for Abstracts: September 15, 2018

Associated Institutions: BISLA, the Bratislava International

School of Liberal Arts

Contact: theliberalherald@bisla.sk

Website: tlherald.wordpress.com  



Jakub Tlolka, MSc.

Mgr. Dagmar Kusá, PhD.

James Griffith, PhD.


From November 22 to November 23, 2018, The Liberal Herald, an interdisciplinary academic platform based at the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts (BISLA), will hold its 5th academic conference for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The theme of this year's event is Demos vs. Polis? Responsible Citizenship in Post-transitional Societies.

In the era of growing populism and the politics of fear, civil society is heating up. Students often take the lead protesting corruption, demanding transparency, calling for accountability of political leaders and institutions, demanding gun control, or accessible higher education.

On the other hand, we are witnessing the normalization of the extreme right wing in mainstream political space and liberal democracies are struggling to find answers to the anxieties that feed these sentiments.

At the same time, the twenty-first century is the age of the fourth industrial revolution – a digital revolution blurring the boundaries not only between the physical and online worlds, but also between regions, established sources of information and conspiracies, the governors and the governed. The internet has not proven to be a miraculous equalizer of the most impoverished and vulnerable. The extension of human society into the digital dimension is presenting democratic societies with significant challenges to the very foundations of democratic governance and poses questions of freedom, regulation, adjudication, and security.

In addition, global concerns reinforce the need for a local population to have a voice in its governance and simultaneously call into question whether national politics is capable of dealing with them. Immigrants, migrants, and refugees of war and natural disasters request employment or asylum in societies that are hostile to them with governments that accept them and in societies with governments that are more hostile to them than the societies. Diasporas seek and reject political participation with their home countries, and vice versa. Transnational capital and national debt put political systems and the individuals within them at constant risk of financial collapse. Attempts to deal with climate change seem destined to be undermined and the proposed global solutions often suggest replacing liberal democracy with technocracy.

Post-transitional societies are particularly vulnerable to the shifts taking place in democratic governance and citizenship not only because their political infrastructures can be weaker, but also because often the very concept of public space, its limits, and the meaning of its extension remain open questions. The extreme right frequently articulates frustrations with these infrastructures in the name of more closed societies. Meanwhile, others, especially student and other youth movements, attempting to force a more open society and transparent political system, are met with hostility by their governments.

This conference will ask not only where the difference is, if there is a difference, between the people and the political system in which they find themselves. It will also ask what constitutes a people, where and how the space for a public as a people appears, and whether any people or political system on its own is sufficient for the challenges of our time.



  1. Active citizenship and mounting technocracy
  • Information in the information age
  • Overgrown government and crisis of governance
  1. Demos and polis
  • Hopeful moments and the hazards of spontaneous public participation
  • Modes of popular mobilization
  • Contentious political participation: Blessing for or threat to democracy?
  1. Evacuation of ideology
  • Populism and politics of fear
  • Does liberal democracy have answers to popular anxiety?
  1. Extension of citizenship: Organizing the polis in digital public space
  • Democratic participation and accountability in the online public space
  • Regulating freedom of speech in the digital universe
  • E-citizenship as a form of direct democracy?
  1. Responsibility to the planet
  • The Anthropocene Epoch and personal responsibility
  • Addressing climate change and/or technocracy
  • Cultural heritage and globalization



Contributors must submit abstracts which are

- pertinent to the subject matter

- scholarly

- in English

- max. 300 words long


Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by September 30, 2018. Authors will be required to submit their complete entries, revised and edited, by November 10, 2018.

All abstracts should be submitted via online form (https://goo.gl/forms/wZP1fT84puyHNRHd2).



Selected papers will be published in 2019 in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal of critical thinking, Kritika & Kontext, affiliated with BISLA.

- 2000 - 3500 words long

- revised and edited

- in APA citation and reference style format


This conference is supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract No. APVV-15-0682