CfP: Unchaining Solidarities: Reflections on Cooperation and Mutual Aid

Call for papers, deadline 31 March 2020

Dear all,

Since we believe that the announced edited collection Unchaining Solidarities: Reflections on Cooperation and Mutual Aid has become dramatically more relevant under the current circumstances worldwide, we decided to extend the deadline for submitting chapter proposals to March 31, 2020. We especially invite new submissions that aim to reflect on the Covid-19 situation from the perspective of the collection's themes (please see below).

Unchaining Solidarities, (eds.) Petr Kouba, Catherine Malabou, Dan Swain, Petr Urban

The main aim of this edited collection is to explore diverse possibilities for understanding our coexistence with others in terms of solidarity and cooperation. The volume seeks to build on Catherine Malabou's recent focus on the phenomena of solidarity, cooperation and mutual aid, and their place at the intersection of evolutionary biology and politics. While a claim of natural selfishness underpins much contemporary evolutionary biology and the political discourses of neoliberalism and contemporary populism, classical anarchism makes its own claims of naturalness, most notably in Kropotkin's famous identification of mutual aid as a factor of human evolution. Although many might be comforted by the replacement of biologically determined selfishness with biologically determined altruism, such positions are prone to familiar charges of biological essentialism with its natural 'chains' of social cohesion and mutuality. Much subsequent (post-)anarchist thought has resisted this in favour of an emphasis on discursivity. But, as Malabou has emphasised, discourse itself remains bound by its own 'chains': linguistic 'chains', symbolic 'chains', 'chains' of equivalence. Might we then 'unchain' solidarity and mutual aid by locating them at the level of the real? Can we point to a reality of mutual aid free from discursive and biological 'chains', and what kind of social ontology can allow for and grasp this possibility?

This volume will begin with a new text from Malabou herself, which will frame contributions from other scholars, organized around the following themes:
·       Reflection on 'unchained' forms of solidarity, sociality and mutuality that cannot be grasped in purely biological or discursive terms
·       Discussion of classical and contemporary (post-)anarchism on mutual aid
·       Criticism and commentary on biological essentialism in right (Dawkins) and left (Kropotkin) version
·       Discussion of on the notions of discursivity and symbolic construction in radical politics (e.g. Laclau & Mouffe, anti-essentialist anarchists)
·       Direct engagements with Malabou's work, in particular her work on neuroscience and psychoanalysis and concepts such as plasticity, trauma and solidarity

Researchers are invited to submit a chapter proposal of 300-400 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. All proposals should include the author's full name, affiliation (if any) and short biographical note of 100 words maximum and should be submitted at on or before March 31, 2020. Authors will be notified by April 15, 2020 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by September 30, 2020.