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Lecture at the Alienation/s Conference in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom, 26–28 September 2023

Between 26 and 28 September 2023 Aufhebung – International Hegelian Association, Cankarjev dom, Goethe-Institut Ljubljana and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana are organising an international philosophy conference on modern-day power structures at Cankarjev dom Ljubljana. The speakers include renowned international and Slovenian philosophers, most notably Mladen Dolar, Rey Chow, Helen Rollins, Gregor Moder, Laurent de Sutter, Nathan Brown, Bara Kolenc, Aleksandar Matković, Martin Hergouth, Nadežda Čačinovič, Ross Wilson, Niklas Toivakainen, Magdalena Germek and Goran Vranešević.

The conference is dedicated to the topic of alienation.

On the most general level, the concept of alienation suggests that we are alienated from our world, from nature, from other people, from sociality, from our work, from our products that confront us as alien objects, and ultimately, from ourselves. The concept implies a call to overcome this devastating state, to heal this wound, and bridge this chasm. It therefore calls for disalienation, relying on an implicit sequence, on a minimum scenario in which the original unalienated state is followed by a fall into alienation, which is to be eventually eliminated by the perspective of its transcendence. The term has its pre-Marxist history, perhaps most pronounced in Rousseau's conception of civilization as a process of alienation from the supposed natural state, and in Hegel (Entfremdung, Entäusserung). The term, however, became widely applicable and sparked broad discussion, largely based on its use in Marx's early manuscripts. The conference’s position on the concept of alienation is that it is possible to follow the productive use of this term and formulate a mechanism of alienation that would strengthen and offer new support to emancipation rather than opposing it. Is it possible to frame a policy of alienation that would not merely postulate its elimination?

Scientific Committee: Mladen Dolar, Bara Kolenc, Gregor Moder, Urban Šrimpf, Barbara Rogelj


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