NECE Conference 2018 

Brave New Worlds?! The Future of Democracy and Citizenship Education 

6 – 9 September 2018 – Registration is open NOW!

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This year’s NECE conference in Marseille will provide a platform for the development of strategies on how citizenship education and civil society can provide us with the readiness to take action in society in the defence and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Confirmed speakers include Latifa Ibn Ziaten, Emily O’Reilly, Niccolò Milanese, Jan-Werner Müller, Basil Kerski, Claire Demesmay, Edit Inotai, Istvan Hegedüs, Karolina Wigura, Alberto Alemanno, Fernando Vallespín, Vincent Hendricks, Karin Wahl-Jorgensenand Almut Möller.
The open and creative venue of the Friche la Belle de Mai in the centre of Marseille offers an optimal (spatial and social) framework for a “festival” of networking, dialogue and inspiration.
NECE is open for citizenship educators, activists and students from Europe, the Eastern Partnership countries and North Africa as well as for the public of Marseilles, French educators and civil society organisations. Conference participation is free of charge.

Register now!

Mission Statement

Liberal democracy is in a state of crisis. Worldwide, a “democratic recession” can be observed, even in countries that have long claimed a leading role worldwide in defending and spreading democratic values and freedoms.
Uncertainties about the future of the European Union and its transformation into a “Citizens’ Europe” are shaping the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May 2019. At the same time we observe new signals for a renewed emphasis on the value of citizenship education as an indispensable subject for democracies in the 21st century. And various other voices (Etienne Balibar, Ivan Krastev, Ulrike Guérot) invite us to rethink the democratic foundations of a European Union that is faced with conflicting interests and global turmoil.

The conference “Brave New Worlds?!”, named after Aldous Huxley’s famous 1932 dystopia, hinges on three intertwined challenges that democracies and citizenship education must address.

  • “Brave New Worlds?!” will address the challenges posed by the discourses and practices of an “illiberal democracy” that is increasingly restricting and endangering the space for civil society and citizenship education.
    With guests from Hungary, Poland and other countries, the conference will fuel a transnational debate and provide a platform where very different national contexts and counter-strategies may be discussed and transnational spheres of action created.
  • “Brave New Worlds?!” also queries the consequences of a technological revolution that digitises our everyday life, allowing large technological groups’ manipulation power to increase globally. One main topic of the conference will be the question of whether and how digitisation changes democracy, how negative side-effects of Big Tech affect democracy and how politics and civil society can react to this.
  • Finally, “Brave New Worlds?!” is about the new, immersive “political” worlds that enable people to withdraw into emotional shelters and echo-chambers in order to protect themselves from complexity as well as imagined and real threats. How to deal with these irreversible processes, how to better understand the emotional mechanisms and strategies of anti-democratic agitation will be at the heart of a focus on “Emotions and Politics.”

This year’s NECE conference in Marseille will focus on these global processes and provide a platform to discuss strategies on how civil society and citizenship education in Europe can turn this trend in liberal democracy.

Download the NECE 2018 Conference Programme