The Passion for Civility
14.33, Social Sciences Building
Alongside the fundamental political concerns of justice, equality and freedom, the pursuit of civility can seem rather trivial, or simply silly. And yet civility, or rather the lack of it, has become an object of enduring fascination in modern western societies - it dominates the headlines, tops political agendas and pervades all corners of public life. Why do we care so much, and are we right to do so? In this paper, I survey the literature in contemporary political theory to see what light it may shed on our curious passion for civility. I ask, first, what civility is and, then, why it matters. I suggest that there may in fact be very good reasons to be concerned by the erosion of civility in modern society, though caution is advised: there is a 'dark side' to civility that threatens the basic values upon which democracy is founded. Wherever we stand on this, one thing is certain - civility is no triviality. The passion for civility is entirely fitting.
PhD and MA researchers are particularly encouraged to attend.
There will be an opportunity for networking after the talk.
Social Sciences Building
University of Leeds
The Social Sciences Building is number 82 on the campus map.