Confronting Discrimination

International Symposium | October 27 - 29, 2021 | University of Innsbruck | Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen

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Organisational Team:
Michaela Bstieler (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck)
Andreas Oberprantacher (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck)
Sergej Seitz (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck)
A cooperation of the University of Innsbruck (Department of Philosophy and 
Research Platform Center Interdisciplinary Gender Studies with 

Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen
Leokino Innsbruck
DK Dynamics of Inequality and Difference in the Age of Globalization
Research Area Cultural Encounters - Cultural Conflicts



Abstract Reader


Agenda and Crucial Questions


The idea of equal treatment is essential to the self-conception of democratic societies: the rule of law promises protection against arbitrary disadvantages. However, contemporary social reality is still haunted by forms of discrimination. Often, discrimination goes unnoticed, is tacitly tolerated or even endorsed. The violent death of George Floyd and the ensuing global Black Lives Matter movement starkly revealed this contradiction, thus raising awareness for the prevalence of racism and racial
discrimination, especially in Western societies. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic makes visible a broad array of systematic patterns of discrimination, since the risk of contracting and dying from the SARS CoV-2 virus is by no means evenly distributed. The poor, precariously employed, and minorities are disproportionately affected. In addition, the so-called “risk groups” (such as the elderly) are not only biologically more vulnerable, but become so in interaction with social factors such as poverty, disenfranchisement, marginalization, or dire housing conditions. Hence, susceptibility to the virus is entangled with complex structures and histories of discrimination.

Against this backdrop, this international symposium plans to confront experiences and structures of discrimination by taking up phenomenological and genealogical perspectives on these issues in the context of various disciplines and research projects, mainly tackling questions such as:

  • What does it mean to experience discrimination and how do these experiences relate to structural discriminatory frameworks?
  • How can such experiences become the issue of phenomenological analysis so that they are adequately and sensitively reflected and discussed?
  • How can different experiences and structures of discrimination be related or compared genealogically?
  • In which ways do multiple experiences of discrimination mutually condition and reinforce each other and how do they become institutionally visible and nameable? How do they become recognizable when they are perhaps not directly evident or witnessed by those affected?
  • What role do experiences and structures of discrimination play in the production of academic knowledge and how does this relate to the scientific criteria of impartiality? Who has the role of recognizing an experience as discrimination at all?

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