Confronting Discrimination

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


October 27 - 29, 2021, University of Innsbruck, Austria (Büchsenhausen/Streaming)

Organisational Team:
Andreas Oberprantacher (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck),
Sergej Seitz (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck),
Michaela Bstieler (Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck),


Eine Kooperation von:
Schloss Büchsenhausen
DK Dynamiken von Ungleichheit und Differenz im Zeitalter der Globalisierung, University of Innsbruck
Research Area Cultural Encounters - Cultural Conflicts, University of Innsbruck
Research Platform Center Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, University of Innsbruck

Download Programme (coming soon)

Call for Proposals (Deadline: August 1, 2021)

Outlining the agenda

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.

Crucial Questions
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
  • 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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