Democracy and Technology

Europe in Tension

from the 19th to the 21st century

Deadline paper abstracts: February 25, 2013

Overall Theme of the Conference

The conference will be devoted to the complex relationship between democracy and technology from a European and transnational perspective. The core of this reflection will be the complementarities and cross-fertilization that arise in the interaction of technology and democracy, but also the frictions, tensions, and paradoxes that emerge in the discourses, representations and interplay of actors. The assumption that technology poses a threat to the liberal democratic political order rooted in the public debate, has fueled a critical approach to technology in humanities and social sciences. This also fueled various shared Europe-wide initiatives of technology assessment. Within the Soviet bloc, on the other hand, technology was promoted as a tool for building socialism.

More recently, calls for the democratization of decision-making related to controversial technical changes made the two terms meet in a dynamic no longer of opposition but of mutual construction: “technical democracy” would be an expansion of democracy, defined primarily as a continuously evolving process rather than a fixed form, open to new questions and new ways to find answers.

This historical conference is open to a wide range of interdisciplinary inquiry. It invites proposals for papers addressing an issue that up to now has mainly been investigated on a national basis. Focusing on circulations and appropriations of technology in a European and transnational perspective, the conference should open new ways to think and talk about the history of Europe.

For further details and to apply, see