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Social Distance Workshop in Bergen, Norway: June 2nd-4th, 2016

April 28th, 2016 |  Published in Events, News

Social Distance – Seminar and Workshop June 2nd-4th, 2016

Social distance – Justice and levels of social interaction

The main topic is the tension between the commitments we have in close personal relations and those we adhere to more distanced, bureaucratic relations. We aim to explore different ways to approach this topic: as a conflict between the human dignity of the unique individual and the total utility of a community; as a conflict between different kinds of recognition (personal-impersonal); as interaction (ephemeral-institutional), preferences (individual-social) and so on. We will discuss problematic aspects of concrete situations where these concerns oppose each other. The relevant cases will be cases which require and/or allow the exercise of bureaucratic or legal discretion and where the personal proximity to the case or the people involved might affect the decisions (such as distribution of medicine, social benefits, and refugee status). Should we talk about a proximity bias to fair and impersonal laws? Or, should we rather speak of it as necessary and competent correction to power?

Keynote speakers

Professor Carola von Villiez, at Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen

Associate Professor Pratishka Baxi – at Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Nythamar Fernandes de Oliveira (PUCRS, Brazil)


The papers span in a range from ethnography of law, gender research and political science on citizenship and migration to different philosophical approaches to social philosophy. The aim is to explore different aspects of the notion of social distance from relevant fields of empirical and theoretical studies.


The conference is financed by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Bergen. The aim is to establish closer academic relations between Bergen, Norway and Porto Alegre, Brazil, initiated by former PRC-students Fabricio Pontin and Johannes Servan.