San Raffaele Spring School of Philosophy 2018 – Unpacking Political Agency. Equality, Vulnerability, Discrimination

mercoledì, ottobre 11, 2017

Unpacking Political Agency

Equality, Vulnerability, Discrimination

San Raffaele Spring School of Philosophy 2018 (SRSSP 2018)

Milan, June 5-7, 2018


What does it mean to be a political agent? Is it a status that needs to be acknowledged to any member of a democratic polity or do people need to fulfil some requirements to be treated as agents?


In very general terms, an agent is a being with the capacity to act, and ‘agency’ denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity. While personal agency entails the capacities to form, realize, and revise temporally extended plans political agency involves the capacity to act in concert with others by exercising political power. On the one hand, this means that individual political agency is contingent on other people; as a consequence, if a person becomes ‘isolated’ from others or excluded by others, her political agency decreases. On the other hand, the relationship between power and political agency entails that the exercise of political agency deeply affects others because it can limit their freedom to pursue what they desire.


The School intends to focus on the following topics:

a) political agency and equality: Which are the grounds to justify equal political agency? Should political agency be equally ascribed to any member of the polity or their acknowledgement as political agents depend upon qualities that can be unequally distributed? Is political agency a status that is permanently acknowledged to citizens or can they lose it?

b) political agency and migration: Should migrants be acknowledged as political agents? Are there some requirements that migrants should meet to be included as political agents? Is differentiated inclusion admissible?  Which are the procedures that can ensure the inclusion of migrants as political agents? Does political agency entail a commitment to the values and history of the country of destination?

c) political agency and vulnerability: Can vulnerability be defined as having a decreased capacity to protect oneself from harm? In this section, we will consider contributions aiming at providing an adequately theorized conception of vulnerability that can assess or justify the interventions and practices invoked in its name. May an adequate conception of vulnerability account also for the strategies and responses that are necessary to overcome it?

d) political agency and discrimination: Are the democratic promises of equal respect and possibilities for all citizens really kept? Which models of democratic exchange ensure the deliberative expression of differences in the public sphere? And why do others fail to do so? Sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination based on class, religion, disability, and so on, are still rife in the socio-political realm. Our main (but by no means exclusive) interest is in discussing gender inequalities: what do gender asymmetries mean for agency? How can certain agents be pushed to the margins of inquiry (epistemic injustice) and deliberation (discursive injustice)?

e) political collective agency: Do collective subjects have political agency? What forms, identities, and structures (e.g. spontaneous or institutionalized) do political collective subjects have? What is the relation between the identity of the collective subjects and their political efficacy? There seems to be no necessary relation between institutionalized or stable identities and political efficacy (e.g. the feminist movement in the XX century).



Invited Speakers

Saray Ayala López (California State University, Sacramento)

Ian Carter (University of Pavia)

Olivia Guaraldo (University of Verona)

Gloria Origgi (Institut Jean Nicod, DR2 CNRS) ­

Lea Ypi (LSE, London)


Submissions must be prepared for double blind review. Manuscripts – in .doc format – should not contain any identifying information and they cannot exceed 4000 words (references included). Moreover, they must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet containing:

- The name of the author(s),

- Title of the submitted paper,

- The author’s affiliation (if any) and contact information,

- An abstract of no more than 250 words,

- The section to which the author(s) wants to contribute to;

- 4/5 keywords.

For stylistic details, see:




Submissions should be sent to by the 15th of January, 2018. Acceptance will be notified by the 26th of March, 2018. Accepted papers will be selected for presentation and for publication on the related issue of Phenomenology and Mind (


Important dates

Deadline for submissions: January 15th, 2018

Notification of acceptance: March 26th, 2018

Spring School: June 5th-7th, 2018

Publication of the issue: July, 2019


Scientific Direction

Enrico Biale (University of Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”), Claudia Bianchi (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Roberta De Monticelli (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Francesca De Vecchi (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Roberto Mordacci (Vita–Salute San Raffaele University), Francesca Pongiglione (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Massimo Reichlin (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Roberta Sala (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Virginia Sanchini (University of Milan – Vita-Salute San Raffaele University), Sarah Songhorian (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University).



For more information see:

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