Call for Presentations

4th Global Conference

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Tuesday 6th May – Thursday 8th May 2014
Lisbon, Portugal


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How can we live responsibly, taking care of one another and of our planet? This is the question faced by everyone who wants, so far as they can, to do what is right, and it is at the heart of Living Responsibly: reflecting on the ethical decisions of everyday life.

We face ethical decisions every day, whether we are aware of it or not. Or at any rate, we face decisions that have ethical significance. For example, we have to decide how we will behave towards others, including family, friends and strangers. We have to decide what we will eat and where we should shop for food, clothes and the other essentials of modern life if we support the idea that workers, wherever they are, should be paid fairly for their labour. And we have to decide how far we are willing to share what we have with others who have less. Alongside such decisions, we face others that arise from our awareness of the ways in which our actions can impact on the environment. In the early 21st century, the issues that surround human induced climate change are among the most important for many of those who aspire to live responsibly. As a result they are mindful of how they build, heat and light their homes and about where and how they travel, both locally and further afield. They are also increasingly mindful of the relative environmental costs of the food, clothing and other goods that they purchase, depending on where and how they are produced and packaged, how far and by what means they are transported, and so on.

Of course issues about what it is to lead a responsible life are found not only at a personal level, but also at a professional and political level. Practitioners of a wide variety of professions, including medicine, psychology and social work; journalism, tourism and the arts; architecture, civil engineering and the law, engage in reflection about ethical issues as part of their daily practice. Ethical behaviour and accountability in public life; in the media and in business are significant concerns for many citizens; Corporate Social Responsibility is high on the agenda for many companies and most professions have an ethical code with which its members are expected to comply.

Living Responsibly: reflecting on the ethical issues of everyday life, will facilitate dialogue about what it means to behave ethically; what motivates ethical behaviour, and how we can live in ways that are respectful of others and respectful of the planet.

Abstracts are invited about any aspect of ethical issues in everyday life, of which the following suggested topics and questions are merely exemplars:

FOOD
-What should we eat and where should we buy our food?
-Should concerns about animal welfare turn us into vegetarians, or persuade us only to eat meat from animals that have been reared humanely?
-What are the ethical arguments for and against the use of chemicals in farming and the introduction of genetically modified crops?
-Is it really morally better to eat organic, locally produced food?
-What’s more important – the air miles it takes to bring my green beans from Kenya, or the fact that the Kenyan farmer who grows them gets at least some money, because I buy them?
-Do organically fed, free range chickens really enjoy their lives more than factory made ones?
-Is eating organically grown beef really more ethical?

CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING
-What should we do about the problem of global warming?
-Will it really make any difference if we recycle; consume less energy and take fewer foreign holidays?
-Should I pay optional carbon offsetting charges every time I fly?
-What will we do when the oil runs out?
-How, really, can we decide on the relative merits of wind farms, nuclear power and the consumption of non-renewable energy sources?
-What can I do about the destruction of the rainforests and the depletion of the earth’s resources?

RELATING TO AND CARING FOR OTHERS
-What ethical demands do personal relationships with family or friends place on us?
-Does the role of ‘parent’ or ‘spouse’ create particular ethical responsibilities?
-What special ethical considerations do sexual relationships involve?
-Should we give money to beggars in the street, even if we suspect they will use it for drugs and alcohol?
-How can we keep children safe and allow them to grow to their full potential, wherever they live?
-Do we have ethical obligations to strangers, whether they are from our society or more distant ones, that conflict with our obligations to friends and loved ones?
-How responsible are we for those who are less well off than we are? (in both developing and developed countries).
-Is it irresponsible to buy our clothes from cut price shops that source them from manufacturers that pay their workers such low wages that they are barely better off than slaves?
-Can we be sure that by buying our clothes from ‘higher end’ shops, we are contributing to better welfare for the workers in developing counties who help to manufacture them?
-Must we donate to every global disaster fund, even if we believe that our money may not reach those who need our help?
-Should I feel guilty about the plight of folk in developing countries if their own governments are that are squandering their GDP on warfare?

BUSINESS, PUBLIC LIFE AND THE PROFESSIONS
-What does it take for a business to be ethically sound?
-What should be done about corruption in public life?
-Is ‘corporate social responsibility’ about doing good, or about gaining market share?
-Should multinationals rule the world?
-What’s fair about ‘fairtrade’?
-Isn’t ‘Responsible and sustainable tourism’ just another way of capturing a share of the market?
-What is the point of professional codes of ethics in, for example, medicine, psychology, social work, the media and the law? Do they really ensure that their members act more ethically?
-Should we buy newspapers published by companies that have a track record of unethical behaviour?

Living responsibly, caring for others and the planet is, of course, a complex business, because so often different sets of demands conflict with one another. The Steering Group welcomes abstracts for papers and practical workshops that aim to raise issues, or to offer strategies for tackling the problems faced by those who aspire to living responsibly. We particularly welcome the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between two and possibly all three groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between the experience of prison, and/or responsible and ethical living and/or disability and sexuality.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 6th December 2013 If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 14th March 2014. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: RL4 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Gavin J Fairbairn & Susan Fairbairn: gavin@inter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher:rl4@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Persons series of ongoing research and publications projects conferences, run within the Probing the Boundaries domain which aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore innovative and challenging routes of intellectual and academic exploration.

All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Details on the conferences running alongside this project in 2014 can be found here:Sexuality and Disability and  Experiencing Prison.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.