IMER Lunch Seminar with Johannes Servan – On social distance – the idea of justice and different levels of social interaction

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, UNI Rokkan senteret (6 etg) Nygårdsgaten 5, 5015 Bergen

In the tradition from Hegel we have become accustomed to think of marginalized subjects as a source of critique and moral development. Concerning immigrants we find a similar idea in Giorgio Agamben’s suggestion on taking the paperless migrants as a paradigm for political reform. Considering extensively debated cases in the Norwegian public, such as the case of Nathan, we might ask whether this reforming potential is part of the picture. How should we conceive the relation between our imagined societies, the “human interest”-stories and the political engagement of non-citizens in cases like this? Based on Alfred Schutz’s analysis of different types of social interaction, this question can be explored in principle as a matter of interconnections between different levels of social distance. If we accept that there is a certain continuity in the moral development from ingroups based on face-to-face interaction to imagined nation-state societies, the central problem could be formulated like this: Should we assume that our obligations to all human beings (non-citizens included) comes out of and is an extension of the kind of sympathy experienced in exclusive ingroups?

Bilde Johannes ServanJohannes Servan is a PhD-student at Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen (UiB). His thesis “Phenomenology of the citizen” (working title) discusses migration as a phenomenon that brings to the foreground a certain tension in our social imaginaries of universal human rights and nation-state citizenship. More specifically it is concerned with the epistemological relevance of the perspective of foreigners to the parochial biases in our social imaginaries and policy-making of a specific nation-state.


A light lunch will be served.