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Call for Contributions to a SCRIPTS Discussion Forum, organized by the Theory Network, on “Contestations of the Liberal Script: Towards a Plurivocal Approach”

News from Jun 10, 2020

Our Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS brings together diverse views of contestations of the liberal
script. Its multi-disciplinarity and pluri-perspectivity are the Cluster’s greatest assets, in
addition to a topic that becomes ever more pressing by the day. To fully realize this potential,
we would like to support our scholarly exchange on different research perspectives and bring
them into fruitful dialogue. We are guided by the idea that our research perspectives can be
complementary to each other and enrich our own work. In this light, we put forward that
recent debates within SCRIPTS have revolved around three sets of questions: (1) approaches
to conceptualize what ‘the liberal script’ and its varieties might be, (2) the issue of
positionality, and (3) our normative stances.

Using the impetus of these debates, the Theory Network calls for contributions to a
Cluster-wide discussion forum. The forum aims at providing a space for engaging more
profoundly with the rich possibilities of approaching the topic of contestations of ‘the liberal
script’ within SCRIPTS. It seeks to contribute to identifying points of convergence and
intersection as well as productive tensions.

To achieve this goal, we suggest that contributions to the continually updated
discussion forum sketch their research perspectives based on (one of) the following questions:
(1) How can we approach the ‘the liberal script’ and its varieties? Which methods are
available to determine the content of such a script? Is there some kind of core across a class
of/variants of liberal scripts that we could identify? Is it necessary to define ‘the liberal script’
in the first place to conduct research on its contestations? Do we need a definition or a
description of the content of the liberal script? Which components would such a description
include? Are there alternatives to starting with a description of ‘the liberal script’ or a definition of a ‘liberal core’? What would such an approach imply and what would it look like?
Do we need to speak of ‘liberal scripts’ (plural) rather than ‘the liberal script’ (singular)?
(2) What are the implications of positionality and/or Eurocentrism in dealing with the
liberal script/liberal scripts? What makes an approach Eurocentric? How can and should
positionality and Eurocentrism be taken into account and practically inform research
approaches? What are alternatives to positional definitions of the liberal script/liberal scripts?
(3) Does research on the liberal script/liberal scripts necessarily entail a normative
stance? What characterizes this stance, what does it imply?

Beyond addressing these three sets of questions, we would like to ask all authors to
sketch how their perspectives can enter into a fruitful dialogue with alternative approaches.
By so doing, we aim to encourage a plurivocal exchange. We invite every member of the Cluster to contribute to this debate. The forum is an opportunity to give a voice to different perspectives within the Cluster. Contributions should be short papers of up to 3.000 words (bibliography included). Both, single and co-authored contributions are welcome.

The forum is open to all members of the Cluster and is intended to serve, first andforemost, our internal discussions. For our internal exchange, we will either use our Cluster-wide wiki or rely on WebExTeams that the FU Berlin uses (information can be found here). At the same time, we also strive tocommunicate our insights beyond the Cluster. We aim at institutionalizing the debate and seek to organize subsequent authors’ workshop with longer papers on the themes. This could potentially result in a joint publication (either in the form of an edited volume in our OUP book
series or as special issue of a journal). Based on the response to this call, the Theory Network
will also consider how to re-organize its work to better reflect the range of perspectives within
the Cluster and to identify important future themes.

We are very much looking forward to your manifold contributions, allowing the forum
to voice the Cluster’s plurivocality. If you are interested in contributing, please get in touch
with Johannes Gerschewski as the coordinator of the Theory Network,
johannes.gerschewski@wzb.eu.

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