Glued Together: Imagined Order and Cooperation in 21st Century Democracies
Maria Clara Calheiros (University of Minho Law School, Portugal)
Manuel Gomez (Florida International University College of Law, United States)
Cooperation is a central concept to social relationships, and by extension to the functioning of any normative order, obviously including the official legal system.
Legal philosophers, socio legal scholars, social psychologists, and intellectuals from other disciplines have devoted important efforts to define and test the boundaries and the inner make-up of human cooperation across different settings.
This has also allowed the exploration of how cooperation is shaped by social, political, economic, and cultural conditions and whether and how cooperation has, conversely, impacted those.
Cooperation has also been studied regarding its connection with compliance, authority, legitimacy, and more importantly, on its role in fostering social cohesion.
A close exploration about the interplay between these concepts, the external or metaphysical stimuli that bring them together, and their internal dynamics is precisely the terrain covered by this workshop.
We draw from the general theme for the 2024 IVR Congress: "The Rule of Law, Justice and the Future of Democracy", and from our own previous research, to convey the idea that being different, independent, and separate from each other is one of the preconditions to human cooperation, and a pillar of contemporary democracy.
Only those who are different have an incentive to find a middle ground or compromise (i.e., cooperate) in their relationships. As we see it, the motivation to cooperate over time is also what helps build long time relationships and one could even argue, a seed for society to exist.
In this sense, the notion of an imagined order rests somehow on the importance of cooperation.
At a global scale, cooperation remains a philosophical ideal and not a reality.
Beyond a handful of temporary social experiments and utopian communities, we are yet to find a real-life example of a long-lasting fully cooperative society where its members are also glued internally by a strong sense of social cohesion.
The workshop’s main contribution is to revisit these issues, and to illustrate the relevant connections surrounding the notion of cooperation with examples drawn from case studies on different social settings that have been the subject of the participants’ own empirical investigations or by others, in the context of contemporary western societies.
Contributions may address:
• Whether cooperation remains a philosophical ideal or a reality.
• The relationship between cooperation, the rule of law, justice, and democracy.
• The relevance of the concepts of identity, belonging, and cooperation in contemporary democratic societies.
• The relationship between current democratic crises and the absence of cooperation.
• Analysis of extra state normative orders that showcase forms of cooperation.