eipcp Projects Europe as a Translational Space: The Politics of ... Conference

Nicole Doerr

Democracy in Translation

In Vienna, Doerr will present her current book project, Democracy in Translation that explores the potential of translation problems and structural misunderstandings for democratic theory. In most political theories, linguistic difference is treated as an obstacle to democratic deliberation in multilingual societies such as Europe, South Africa and the United States. Doerr shows to the contrary that translation can be a vital tool for enhancing more inclusive and egalitarian face-to-face democracy in multilingual and monolingual settings. It is however, a particulaf practice of justice translation that achieves these results. In Democracy in Translation, Doerr addresses three questions. First, how can people who speak different languages solve shared problems in a democratic way? Second, how is talking possible in monolingual settings structured by intranslatabilities based on intersecting gendered, racial and ethnic boundaries and/or histories of violent exclusion? Third, in a more general perspective, how could we theorize democracy starting from structural misunderstandings and intranslatability related to asymmetries of power and forms of knowledge? In trying to answer these questions, Doerr’s work examines translation practices used by South African, American and European social movements involved in the World Social Forum.

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Nicole Doerr
is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. She has co-organized the Narrative and Translation workshop with Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Francesca Polletta at University of California Irvine and did her PhD at the European University Institute in Florence. Doerr’s work on translation and/or social movements has been published in European Political Science Review, Mobilization, Globalizations, Feminist Review, Social Movement Studies, Journal of International Women’s Studies, European Foreign Affairs Review, and Partecipazione e Conflitto.