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What is Demcon?

The EDG and the IPG Groups are recipients of major funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) under the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program (MCRI.)

Main Sponsors
  Canada Research Chair in Law & Society
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI)
Ethnicity & Democratic Governance (EDG)
Indigenous Peoples & Governance (IPG)

2008 Conference:

Recognition and Self-determination

Also serving as the Fourth Annual Workshop of the
Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism
University of Victoria
February 28 - March 2, 2008

Graduate Student Conference

The Dynamics of Recognition:  

Power and Transformation

will be held on

Thursday, February 28, 2008

UVic - Fraser Building Room 152


Co-organizers:  Avigail Eisenberg (UVIC Political Science), Jeremy Webber (UVIC Law) and Glen Coulthard (PhD candidate, UVIC, Political Science).

Please contact Pat Skidmore (demcon@uvic.ca) for more information.


Politics today takes place through the medium of ‘recognition’. Indeed, for the last 25 years, the politics of recognition has been a primary framework by which politics in diverse societies is understood. Recognition in this context refers to the ways in which political and legal institutions mediate relations between different groups by translating, and characterizing the substance of one group’s demands, interests, perspectives, character or identity in a manner that another group can understand or ‘recognize’. A couple of dimensions of recognition are especially important. First, recognition focuses our attention on the ways in which groups are not only dependent on each other but partly constituted by how they are recognized by another. Second, recognition tends to be distorted and potentially damaging when powerful groups attempt to recognize less powerful ones. Even as powerful groups attempt to amend their historical wrongs, they choose how they do so in a manner that can fall well short of recognizing the groups they have wronged as equals.


In addition to exploring at a theoretical level what is or should be meant by recognition, considering how recognition relates to self-determination, and exploring challenges associated with recognition in practice, we expect the workshop to draw intensely upon empirical cases of recognition, especially current developments in institutions and practices that mediate the struggles between indigenous peoples and political institutions. How are current trends in the development of national or international legal capacities for indigenous people changing how they are recognized either by settler states or by the international community? What impact are struggles of recognition having on indigenous communities? What principles should guide recognition in this context? We also want to consider whether the very concept of recognition is or should be varied in its application depending on the context (e.g. indigenous peoples as opposed to cultural minorities produced by immigration).


This workshop will bring together researchers from the MCRI project on Ethnicity and Democratic Governance, the MCRI on Indigenous Peoples and Governance and Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism at UVIC.



Click the image for details on the new publication from the 2003 Calder Conference.

The first Annual Demcon Conference took place October 1-3 2004.






UVic & Victoria Maps

Discussion Paper

Grad Student


Grad Student