Convening 23 May 2022 Venice (Italy)
Venice Seminars 2022 – Between State and Civil Society:
Who Protects Individual Liberties and Human Dignity?

An initative of Reset DOC with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Venice Summer School – May 23-28, 2022 // Venice Seminars – May 26-28, 2022

Thank you to all of the speakers, the students and young researchers and the wider audience for attending our 2022 Venice Summer School and Seminars, contributing making them a remarkable intellectual as well as human exchange experience.

You can re-live the gathering by visiting our dedicated photo-gallery here, or by re-viewing any session of the Seminars here. Stay in touch for our next initiatives. 


Between State and Civil Society: Who Protects Individual Liberties and Human Dignity?

The need to protect the most vulnerable in society against the ravages of Covid-19, climate change, financial downturn as well as, most recently, war, signals the powerful return of the state. After decades of globalization and the ascendancy of markets, multinationals and civil society, national governments have reemerged as critical actors. The state is seen as the last recourse against extreme income inequality and against challenges to individual freedoms emanating from cultural-religious realms. The recent collapse of the Afghan government left millions without institutional protection for such liberties.

Liberal theory is divided about the precise role of the state in society. In the view of John Locke and Isaiah Berlin, the state is meant to protect the negative freedom of individuals, so that each can lead their life according to their own wishes and ideas – whatever those are – without the interference of others. Yet this view is not one-sided. Another version of liberalism is more attuned to a socially more active role of the state, in particular – but not only – in terms of welfare.

The 2022 edition of the Venice Seminars, back in person after three years, will focus on the space between state and society — a free and ample public sphere — which is an indispensable ingredient of civil liberties. These liberties need in fact to be protected not only from incursions of state power, but also from cultural, religious and social forces in society. We cannot be blind to real forms of domination and rooted iniquity in society, be they related to oppressive traditions, patriarchal legacies, sexism, racism, classism, and ethnic hatred but also to formal caste systems, such as that in India, and informal ones, like that of the United States. Many concerned liberals prefer therefore the notion of freedom of non-domination according to which the state plays a central role in guaranteeing and protecting individual autonomy and dignity. In this perspective, the state’s guarantee of the rule of law protects against domination in civil society and liberates civil life from oppressive traditions and inequalities so as to bring about actual, real individual freedom.

The 2022 Venice Seminars will confront these debates about the distinct roles of the state and civil society in the protection of individual liberties in comparative perspective.

The international symposium will take place from the 26th to the 28th of May, with high-level academics, political scientists, and journalists. Participants will present innovative and original papers in round tables and panel discussions, to create a comparative debate around the conference topics. The proceedings of the Venice Seminars are going to be published, as in the last years, in a special issue of the journal Philosophy and Social Criticism (Sage Publications).


2022 Speakers and Faculty *

Giuliano Amato, Lisa Anderson, Stefano Beggiora, Akeel Bilgrami, Giancarlo Bosetti, Daniele Brombal, Marina Calloni, Silvio Cristiano, Alessandro Ferrara, Beatrice Gallelli, Seán Golden, Amel Grami, Mona Harb, Volker Kaul, Jonathan Laurence, Tiziana Lippiello, Stephen Macedo, Walter Mignolo, Subrata Mitra, Toshio Miyake, Philip Pettit, Maria Cristina Paciello, Runya Qiaoan, David Rasmussen, Marcella Simoni, Nandini Sundar, Yael Tamir, Francesca Tarocco, Richard Quang-Anh Tran, Ananya Vajpeyi.


The Venice Seminars are free and open to all.

–> To sign up for to the Seminars, please click here

–> To learn more on the Summer School, please click here.



Scientific Coordinators

Toshio Miyake (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice); Volker Kaul (Charles University, Prague/Reset DOC)

Summer School Scientific Committee

Karen Barkey (Bard College), Stefano Beggiora (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Daniele Brombal (Ca’ Foscari), José Casanova (Georgetown University), Beatrice Gallelli (Ca’ Foscari), Stephen Macedo (Princeton University), Maria Cristina Paciello (Ca’ Foscari), Marcella Simoni (Ca’ Foscari), Francesca Tarocco (Ca’ Foscari).


You can request a certificate of attendance for the Seminars upon their conclusion by writing to In order to receive this certificate attendance is mandatory for all sessions.



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