Practices of dialogue, dialogues in practice – with their problems

Department of Philosophy and Applied Ethics, Université de Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke and Longueuil, Québec, Canada ● November 1-5, 2021

(conference website: https://iada2021.org)

Many fields of research devote themselves to the study of dialogue, whether in linguistics, philosophy, ethics, communication, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, sociology, argumentation, pragmatics and logic, among others. Engaging in dialogue sometimes consists in representing, describing and informing others of the existence of something – either a thing in the world, its characteristics, or our subjective mental states. In dialogue, though, more is always occurring or, to say it otherwise, new reality is conjured up in dialogue: values can be shared or confronted, identities are constituted or altered, relations are woven, knowledge is coproduced, errors become common, shared meaning is created and communities are built. But they can also be damaged, sometimes (but not always) beyond repair. One way to grasp what takes place through dialogue in addition to information and representation is to understand dialogue through the lens of practice: dialogue is a set of practices that have meaning beyond their descriptive function, and that are used and surrounded by yet other meaningful practices. Defects and satisfying results can only be considered if we look at practices, in which we can fully grasp our experiences of dialogue.

Studies on dialogue have thus revealed how a practice perspective accounts for both the productivity and creativity that takes place in dialogue, as well as the practical and concrete consequences of dialogue. Others have focused on the conditions, the problems, limits and failures in dialogue, with the aim to develop a better set of practices of/in dialogue. For this conference, we invite contributors to look at the manifold connections between dialogue and practice(s). Some of the issues that can be addressed include:

  • Dialogue is and remains a practice, more or less successful according to varying criteria. What are these criteria, and how do they influence our practices of dialogue? 
  • Over the past few decades, new practices have emerged around dialogue: mediation, deliberative forums, new negotiation practices, intercultural communication, etc. How do these new practices challenge and extend our understanding of dialogue? 
  • Through what modalities, materialities, media and technological affordances do these practices of dialogue unfold?
  • Dialogue is embedded in situated practices. For instance, dialogue is differently enacted in gendered contexts, in postcolonial contexts, between working classes and the elites, etc. What conditions are required for dialogue to be possible? Is it always a current possibility, or is it gravely limited, or even compromised in some situations? 
  • What are the theoretical premises and implications of the practice of dialogue? What is meant by “practice” when it involves dialogue, in the perspectives of linguistics, anthropology, communication, practical philosophy, etc.?

Contributors are also invited to suggest additional questions connecting practice and dialogue. Case studies can be used to shed some light on these theoretical issues, while discussion of frames and concepts is also welcome.

Conference format

To maximize participation while allowing for excellent discussion spaces in a time of COVID-19, we will create a new format for the IADA 2021 Conference.

  • Upload period: Once a contribution is accepted, participants will upload their presentation in video format ahead of time for others to view at their convenience. Participants will also have the opportunity to make a full paper available or to provide additional material (handouts, data excerpts, etc.), although it won’t be mandatory. Links to the videos and to any additional material will be made available on the conference website. 
  • Working Sessions: The organizers will group people along thematic lines, constituting Working Sessions; people will be advised of their Working Session. Between the upload period and the conference, six weeks will be allowed during which people will be invited to view and read all materials relevant to their Working Sessions. 
  • Synchronous meetings: On the days of the conference, synchronous meetings on a videoconferencing platform will be devoted to very brief presentations of the pieces followed by a discussion of the contributions. Participants will be assigned to briefly recall the contributions and start off the conversation on each paper, raising questions and inviting all attendants to ask questions to the authors.

To accommodate the time zones of the majority of IADA members, the synchronous meetings will run from 1pm to 3pm UTC, which equate to:

Montreal and New York: 9am to 12pm;San Francisco: 5am to 8am; Brussels: 3pm to 6pm;New Delhi: 6h30 pm to 9h30 pm;Taiwan: 9pm to 12am. 

Depending on the number of contributions selected, the number of days might be adjusted to allow contributions. Keynotes will be distributed along the days of the conference.

Submission process

Word files with abstracts (up to 500 words, excluding references) of individual papers must be submitted through the Abstract Submission Form by midnight UTC on May 15, 2021. Please follow a standard citation style, such as the APA, MLA or Chicago styles, to format your references. Check the Purdue Online Writing Lab website for more information. 

Notification of acceptance will be communicated by June 15, 2021. Videos of the communications and adjacent documents will be provided by participants to the organizing committee by July 15, 2021. Documents will be made available by September 15, 2021. At the same time, people will be informed of their Working session. 

The conference language is English. For any questions, do not hesitate to contact the organizing team at iada-2021@usherbrooke.ca.

Université de Sherbrooke — Longueuil Campus