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[Nettime-nl] CfP CASA "constructing social change"
Firat, B.O. on Tue, 20 Dec 2005 09:04:57 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] CfP CASA "constructing social change"

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Call for Participation
CASA meeting 2006


Date: 22 June 2006 - 26 June 2006
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The Cultural Analysis Summer Academy (CASA) came into existence in 
2003 as an international forum that seeks to discuss the shifting 
functions of academia and the scholar in a globalized society. Until 
now CASA organized two meetings to provide a platform for these 
discussions. Two years ago people from seventeen countries all over 
the world engaged in the discussions under the broad headline of 
'Acting - Spectating'. The meeting proved to be successful and 
created on-going debates that have resulted in an e-journal and a 
proposed book publication. In 2005 a second meeting was organized 
that focused on the intersection between academic research and 
activism by discussing three thematic threads: borders, markets and 

CASA continues to be an interrogatory process on the continuum of 
activism and academia. The CASA meeting 2006 will focus on debates 
around the construction of social change.

The leftist tendency of embracing change as intrinsically positive, 
as if all transformations were emancipatory, veils two important 
facts. First of all, it presents the world as manageable. While 
change is inevitable it is not always the result of rational choices 
within collective action processes. Secondly, when human agents 
attempt to give change a certain direction, they still need to take 
into consideration that the effects of their actions cannot always be 
predicted and anticipated, but are subject to contingent factors and 
can take surprising turns. The unpredictabilities inherent in a 
project of transformation make it necessary that change becomes a 
reflexive and ongoing process.

Social relations
The project of changing social relations has been related to the 
transformation of material dimensions of class relations and given 
form by a politics of redistribution. Yet a long tradition of 
criticism has shown that class is not the only social organizing 
principle that constitutes our position in a complicated and wide web 
of power relations. When we speak about oppression or exclusion we 
equally have to mention gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, health, 
age, etc and social, economic and symbolic/discursive relations that 
construct and sustain the norm. Accordingly, knots of resistance and 
social transformation are generated from these different positions 
reflecting different forms of labor, different ways of living, 
different views of the world and differing desires.
Departing from such fragmented subject positions we would like to 
open up a discussion about the possibilities and limitations of and 
strategies for creating more equal and inclusive social relations. 
Inclusion involves changing these social ordering principles by 
deconstructing the norms that nourish the production of social 
hierarchies without constructing new exclusive norms. Equality does 
not refer to sameness but to the acceptance and negotiation of 
differences that can be articulated in dialogic processes. To strive 
for equality in social relations involves the creation of the 
conditions that would allow everyone to take part in the process of 
social change, from her own particular social context.

Constructing social change
Dialogic processes for change in a world that is not manageable 
cannot flourish when one departs from the concept and practice of 
'directing change'. 'Vanguardism' is no valid option for a 
participatory collective process. Therefore, we would like to speak 
about constructing change, which refers to a collective participative 
process that involves the articulation of differences by creating 
permeability and mutual contamination between different struggles and 

CASA 2006: Constructing social change

CASA 2006 will be centered on four interrelated strategies for social 
transformation, focusing on a different strategy each day. These are: 
desires and utopia, art, knowledge, and direct action.
All these themes can -and hopefully will- be discussed from many 
different angles. Possible questions are (but should not be limited to):

Desire and utopia
How does desire relate to social change? How can reflections on our 
own desires for change and its implications be developed? Can desire 
be changed or directed? What is the role of desire in research? Can 
desires for alternatives help to shape an effective research 
strategy? What is the role of utopian writing for the stimulation of 
social change? What can be considered as utopian movements? What are 
the utopian aspects of social movements and knowledge construction?
How can art contribute to emancipatory change? Is art merely 
reflecting social change, or can it be transformative in itself? How 
are art, knowledge and desire interrelated? How should we imagine the 
agency and autonomy of art in the age of global culture industries? 
Can art be a form of direct action? In what way is art related to the 
social? What is the role of the artist, and what is the role of the 
public in both the production and experience of an artwork?  How can 
we discuss social responsibility of the artists?
In what ways can knowledge be used for social change towards more 
inclusiveness and emancipation? Which agents or parameters determine 
different types, modes and sites of knowledge production and 
transmission, knowledge hierarchies, the organization of knowledge 
and of academia? What alternatives are available concerning the 
production, distribution/sharing and use of knowledge? What is the 
role of education in processes of transformation?
Direct Action
What kind of interruptions and interventions are useful for reaching 
emancipatory transformation? How and by whom are direct action 
interventions carried out and to what ends? What kind of knowledge is 
produced by direct action? Can direct action also be used for 
knowledge construction and the interruption of hegemonic academic 
practices? Can we talk about "aesthetics" of direct action as a way 
of politicizing and mobilizing aesthetic experience?

The format of the CASA meeting is as crucial as its content. We want 
to ask all of you to engage in a construction of interactive spaces 
that contribute to constructing emancipatory change that is inclusive.
Interactivity, here, means acknowledging that knowledge construction 
and knowledge transmission are not one-directional but rather 
collective processes. Thus participants of all kinds (presenters, 
discussants, facilitators, technical assistants, and organizers) 
should actively engage in collaborative processes rather than in a 
mere conveying of knowledge. We are open to alternative formats - 
from workshops to performances - that would open spaces for 
participation and collective production.
Inclusiveness, here, means open to variety. We want a large diversity 
of contributions to the CASA meeting by inviting academics, artists, 
artist projects and collectives, utopians, utopian writers, non-
institutional intellectuals, activists engaged in direct actions, and 
other interested individuals to share and exchange thoughts and 
practices. We also anticipate a diversity of practices to open debate 
and reflection. CASA 2006 can be a continuum of debating, 
intervening, thinking, reflecting, inspiring, inventing and 
constructing inclusive emancipatory initiatives.

Proposals for contributions within the four outlined topics are very 
welcome and can be submitted until April 1, 2006.

For further questions, contributions or participation please mail to: 
mailto: info {AT} casa.manifestor.org
Website: http://www.casa.manifestor.org
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