Call for papers: Asymmetrical Ethics

Toward an Asymmetrical Ethics: Power, Relations, and the Diversity of Subjectivities

International conference organised November 13 to 15 by the Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

Intersubjective relations

In Western societies and philosophical traditions, the egalitarian relation between rational subjects has since long been understood as an ethical ideal for intersubjective relations. This ethics presupposes a relation between two independent subjects of the same kind: autonomous, rational, and (self-)transparent subjects. And even when this understanding of subjectivity is not applicable, the ideal remains the same.

When this egalitarian ethic is applied to, for example, relations between children and adults, humans and animals, care-giver and patients with dementia, teachers and pupils, there is a risk that the variety of subjectivities involved in these relations will not be acknowledged, and thus opens up for a hidden abuse of power. These problems are also relevant for empirical research where asymmetrical relations are at the center, for example research that aims at giving voice to other subjectivities, which also turns this into it a question of methodology and research ethics.

Asymmetrical relations

But are not all relations asymmetrical? Human life itself begins as an asymmetrical relation between a pregnant mother and her fetus. And perhaps, as is the case in this relation, asymmetrical relations need not be based in injustice. We can even ask ourselves if anyone in fact lives up to the ideal of rational subjectivity presupposed by egalitarian ethics. Instead, a description of asymmetries might reach an intrinsic dimension of intersubjective life and an understanding of such asymmetries that would make our understanding of different kinds of subjectivities and relations richer.

But how are we to formulate an ethics of asymmetry that moves away from the long-standing influence of “symmetrical ethics,” which permeates contemporary life? Where, and how, is it needed? How would it be possible to develop an asymmetrical ethics that is not caught up in power abuse, static and rigid relations, or locked in fixed hierarchies? And how can we formulate
an ethics of asymmetry in which the meaning of equality, integrity, power, freedom, etc., can be thought anew?

Questions and topics

We invite researchers from all human and social sciences, as well as artistic researchers and artistic practitioners, to investigate these questions further. Questions and topics may include philosophical issues of asymmetrical ethics, for example the asymmetrical nature of life, asymmetry and power, and asymmetrical relations within an egalitarian ideal. We also invite submissions from broader research areas that may include human-animal studies, disability studies, studies on elderly care, educational relations, childhood studies, theory and methodology of science, etc.

We invite individual papers or panels. Please submit your abstract of maximum 300 words for papers and 600 words for panels to, latest August 30, 2019.

Call for papers:The making of care policy and practices

4th Transforming Care Conference 2019

Changing priorities: The making of care policy and practices

The International Journal of Care and Caring is pleased to support the 4th Transforming Care Conference, 24-26 June 2019, to be held at Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark on the theme: Changing priorities: The making of care policy and practices.

Papers at the conference will be on the 2019 conference theme or on one of the topics around which the overall Transforming Care conference series is structured:

  • The institutional setting of care systems and care policy
  • Care arrangements and practices, organised through formal and/or informal channels
  • Social and policy innovation in care services and care arrangements and its impact and dilemmas
  • Formal and informal care work

International Journal of Care and Caring at Transforming Care 2019

At the conference, the Policy Press will host a reception marking the third year of publication of the International Journal of Care and Caring. Members of the journal’s editorial team and Editorial Advisory Board will be available to discuss the remit and purpose of the journal and opportunities to publish with IJCC.[pullquote]Visit for details on the conference the Calendar.[/pullquote]

Policy Press will also launch a joint International Journal of Care and Caring/Transforming Care Conference Call for Guest Editors of a Special Issue of IJCC on Transforming Care at the reception. For further details of this, please visit the journal’s website.


We invite scholars to express their interest in submitting an abstract to the selected Thematic panels (TP) of the Transforming Care Conference 2019.

Abstract submission will be open from November 1st to January 31st, 2019. Please note that you are required to the submit your paper to the conference website by June 1st 2019. The paper will be available for the conference delegates through the conference website.

Abstracts should be about 500 words and should contain the following information:

  1. Title
  2. Main issue analyzed in the paper and its relevance
  3. Type of methodology and sources of data/information used for the analysis
  4. Main findings expected from the analysis

Once we have all paper abstracts, session conveners will assess and rank all abstracts submitted for their session, finally selecting up to 4 papers, plus up to 2 contributed papers.

We will notify you whether your paper has been accepted by Feb 28th, 2019. Early Bird Registration will also open February 28th and close.

Paper abstracts may only be submitted online by filling out this form: filling out this formplease do not send abstracts directly to stream convenors.

Click here to download the call for papers