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From Maastricht to Brexit by Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione

Concepts in Transit: Political Ideas Between Context and Universality

Human Rights
Political Theory
Comparative Perspective
Normative Theory
Political Ideology
Section Number
Section Chair
Rieke Trimcev
University Greifswald
Section Co-Chair
Rosario López
University of St Andrews

Political concepts – in their everyday usage, in political thought, or when used as analytical categories – acquire their meaning and their force from the concrete contexts in which they are used. Yet concepts often raise claims that reach beyond these particular contexts. This Section focuses on the tension between the context- bound and context-transcending qualities of political concepts. The notion of “transit” points to a passage between different discursive spaces and levels of abstraction, a passage with its own rules and strategies. The Section will examine manifold types of conceptual transit and conceptual change in a number of different fields and subdisciplines.

The theme of “Concepts in Transit” brings to the fore questions such as how political concepts move between contexts, be it linguistic, social and cultural, discursive, or disciplinary contexts. The topic links to a number of questions: How does the normative and/or analytical reach of political concepts change in such conceptual transits, from both temporal and spatial perspectives? How are concepts used and/or interpreted differently in different contexts and subfields? What are the costs of conceptual travels, and what are their limits? What kind of strategies, rules, rhetorical moves, and practices are involved in them? What is the role of political ideologies in this regard? Is there a tension between a universalization of political languages on the one hand and an appeal to nationalisms or particularisms in politics on the other? Can political agents and speech acts purposely bridge the gap between the ideas of the particular and universal? How has the transit to universalization been undone and reinvented in both history and contemporary contexts?

Panel List

Code Title Details
P077Concepts of Politics in Post-War Political Science View Panel Details
P079Conceptualising Inter-Parliamentary Politics View Panel Details
P083Conservatism Between Politics and Philosophy View Panel Details
P085Constitutional Democracy, Rule of Law and Pluralism View Panel Details
P092Contested Solidarity - Between Particularism and Universalism View Panel Details
P160Exploring the Western / Non-Western Dichotomy Through Liberalism and Democracy View Panel Details
P500Traveling Liberalisms View Panel Details
P519Western Democratic Concepts in Non-Western Contexts View Panel Details
P529Making Concepts Political Again: Human Rights and the Republican Public Sphere View Panel Details
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