Liberalism and Consensus

Workshop Convenor: Matthew Jones (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Email address:

The aim of this workshop is to bring together those who are interested in the often contested nexus of liberalism and consensus. Liberalism, in both its neutralist and perfectionist forms, is often defended on the grounds that it is uniquely capable of producing a consensus between competing conceptions of the good. However, as critics such as Marxists, communitarians, and Chantal Mouffe, have noted, this consensus is not as ideal as many liberal defenders would have us believe. Issues such as ideological blindness, contingent and localized conceptions of the good, and exclusion of that which is deemed to be irrational and unreasonable, are often ignored in favour of a discourse that promotes universalism and rational actors behaving in a predictable and reasonable way.

Possible topics for this workshop may include (but are not limited to):

Marxist critiques of liberal consensus

Communitarian critiques of liberal consensus

Liberal accounts of consensus: a defence

Liberal consensus and the challenge of pluralism

Agonistic pluralism and Mouffe’s ‘conflictual consensus’

Papers are welcome from graduate students, and both early career and senior researchers, that address any of the issues raised by liberalism and consensus. The deadline for submissions of your proposal for this workshop is Thursday the 14th of June. Please include your name and institutional affiliation. The above information is to be emailed to myself at


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