/ Archives : colloques et journées d’études 2005 - 2016

Colloque international "Toleration, pluralism and social consensus : reassessing political thought & practice in the liberal tradition"

22 mars 2013, 23 mars 2013 à l’Université Lumière Lyon 2 et à l’ENS de Lyon

UMR 5206 Triangle, Lyon 2, Sciences-Po Lyon, ENS de Lyon

Download program (pdf)


The aim of this international conference is to focus on the complex tensions that exist between the core concepts of pluralism and social consensus at the heart of political liberalism since its inception in the early modern era. Be it through religious toleration then or through multiculturalism today, liberalism continues to struggle both in theory and in practice with the accommodation of an infinite variety of individual experiences, values, and demands within the pluralist society it seeks to develop and protect. In its recent theoretical developments, political liberalism has notably used the concept of value-pluralism as a basis for its adaptation to multiculturalism, but late twentieth and early twenty-first century self-declared liberal or post-liberal theory continues to think creatively of ways to reconcile the tension between toleration/pluralism and social consensus. One may for instance think of Rawls’ ’public reason’ or Gray’s ’modus Vivendi’ as particularly relevant at a time when religious and political discourses seem to interpenetrate so closely again.

The conference doest not only explore recent political theory in its attempts to understand the relation between toleration, pluralism and social consensus, but also seeks out potential loopholes in the traditional readings of classical liberal sources and brings to light those aspects that do not fit the ’convenient’ narrative of conceptual reconciliation as it is told by that tradition.

Paramount to us is the necessity to assess both the role of contingency and history in the formulation of theory and the influence of normative theory on practical policies, such as, for instance, toleration policies in the early modern era, or the adoption of multicultural ones in a more recent context. Following that line of inquiry, any gap between theory and practice is of special interest, as it may reveal how conflicts of ideas preceded the emergence of the dominant view and shed light on how the latter endures. Within this framework, ’alternative’ or ’counter’ visions of liberalism may also come to the fore.


Friday, March 22nd

  • 9h30 – Opening of the conference, Amphithéâtre Benveniste, Lyon 2
    Opening words – Renaud Payre (director of UMR 5206 TRIANGLE)
  • 9h45 – KEYNOTE ADDRESS - Amphithéâtre Benveniste, Lyon 2
    Catherine Audard (London School of Economics) - How far should an overlapping consensus extend ? The limits of political liberalism
  • 10h45 – coffee break
  • 11h15 – PANEL 1 – Amphithéâtre Benveniste, Lyon 2
    • Laurent Baggioni (Lyon 3) - Republican liberty and its historians : the notion of civic humanism
    • Franck Lessay (Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle) - La distinction entre libéralisme et républicanisme, clef d’interprétation historique ou arme idéologique ?
  • 12h45 – Lunch
  • 14h – KEYNOTE ADDRESS - Amphithéâtre Leclair, Sciences Po Lyon
    Wendy Donner (Carleton University, Ottawa) - John Stuart Mill on Individuality and Pluralism
  • 15h – coffee break
  • 15h30 – PANEL 2 – Amphithéâtre Leclair, Sciences Po Lyon
    • Anna Plassart (Oxford) – Intolerant liberalism : Religion and Social Progress in James Mill’s early writings
    • Alexander Blake Ewing (Oxford) - Looking beyond liberty : the significance of critical thought and discussion to John Stuart Mill’s concept of human progress
    • Françoise Orazi (Lyon 2) – After Mill’s liberalism
  • 15h30 – PANEL 3 – Salle 303, Sciences Po Lyon
    • Fiona Simpkins (Lyon 2) - The Scottish Labour Party : from social liberalism to neoliberalism
    • Marie Plassart (Sciences Po Lyon) – The Hirshhorn Museum controversy : enlarging the pantheon of national benefactors to the non-WASP, 1962-1969
    • Alix Meyer (Sciences Po Lyon) - The 112th US Congress (2011-2012) in theoretical perspective : James Madison triumphant or betrayed ?
  • 17h15 – Debate with the Sciences Po, ENS & Lyon 2 students, Amphithéâtre Leclair, Sciences Po Lyon
  • 20h – Conference dinner

Saturday, March 23rd

  • 9h – KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Salle F08, ENS-LSH
    Glenn Burgess (Hull) - Toleration and Secularisation : Reflections on the Grand Narrative of Early Modern History
  • 10h00 – coffee break
  • 10h30 – PANEL 4 – Salle F08, ENS de Lyon
    • Cyril Selzner (Limoges) - From Separatism to Toleration : Shifting Concerns for Purity in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Separatist Controversies
    • Frédéric Herrmann (Lyon 2) – The Sanhedrin and the construction of a ‘tolerant confessional state’ in mid-17th c revolutionary England
    • Jean-Christophe Angaut (ENS de Lyon) - Squat et Libéralisme : relectures de Locke
  • 12h30 – Buffet Lunch, on-site
  • 13h45 – PANEL 5 – Salle F08, ENS-LSH
    • Agnès Delahaye (Lyon 2) - Freedom and the Puritans : New England Historiography and the liberal tradition in the United States
    • Gilles Christoph (ENS de Lyon) - The Social and Economic Value of Nonconformity in Hayekian Liberalism : Seed of Destruction or Agent of Progress ?
    • José Tomaz Castello Branco (IEP, Lisboa) - A Praxis of Toleration in Western Liberal Democracies
  • 15h45 – coffee break
  • 16h15 – KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Salle F08, ENS-LSH
    Noel O’Sullivan (Hull) - Civil association and pluralism : the contemporary quest for a political liberalism
  • 17h45 – End of Conference


/ Archives : colloques et journées d’études 2005 - 2016