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Call for Abstracts

Resisting and Contesting Institutional Failures. Citizens and Public Servants Perspectives
Closing conference of the research project EnTrust-Endogenous Institutional Trustworthiness
(PI: Emanuela Ceva, University of Geneva)


Northeastern University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities (Boston MA)
6-7 June 2024
Keynote speakers

Kimberley Brownlee (University of British Columbia)                                                                 Erin Kelly (Tufts University)

Resistance to and contestation of such institutional failures as injustice, illegitimacy, and corruption play crucial roles in shaping the life of a polity. Philosophers have extensively discussed the conceptual and normative contours of different forms of resistance and contestation, such as principled (civil and uncivil) disobedience, direct action, rioting, conscientious objection, whistleblowing. However, the vast majority of such discussions have concentrated on the justification of the rights and duties of resistance and contestation of citizens. A lesser attention has been devoted to the rights and duties of resistance and contestation of public servants.

The conference welcomes contributions that variably investigate forms of internal or external reactions to institutional failures, shed light on the (remedial) duties of the members of dysfunctional institutions, explore the impact of institutional dysfunctions for the quality of institutional action (e.g., institutional trustworthiness) and/or explore the emotional landscape such dysfunctions may elicit.
We welcome submissions from junior philosophers (max 5 years after PhD) addressing different aspects of citizens’ and public servants’ resistance to and contestation of institutional failure from an analytical, normative, or critical point of view.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• Comparative conceptual and normative accounts of citizens’ and public servants’ resistance
• Conceptual discussions of political resistance and its instances
• Resistance’s role and function in the public institutional context
• Normative attitudes towards resistance and (unlawful) contestation
• Resistance: moral right or moral duty?
• Resistance, contestation and institutional and professional obligations
• Practical emotions and resistance’s affective dimension

Submitting a proposal:

1. Prepare an extended abstract as an attachment in MS Word or a .pdf (500-1000 words, including selected bibliography). The abstract should be suitable for blind review.

2. Include in the body of the email relevant contact information: the author(s), department(s) and affiliation(s), mailing address(es), email address(es); and phone number(s) and declaration of the status of junior scholar (PhD +5years max)

3. Email the abstract and contact information to Marta Giunta Martino at by 17:00 UTC, Monday, 8 Jan. 2024.

Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by mid-January 2024. The conference will provide all attending invited participants with refreshments and offer suggestions for area lodging. No financial contribution to travel and accommodation / living costs can be offered. There is no conference fee.


Emanuela Ceva                                                                                                                                Candice Delmas

Professor of Political Theory                                                                                                        Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science

Department of Political Science & International Relations                                             College of Social Sciences and Humanities

University of Geneva                                                                                                                     Northeastern University

40 bd. du Pont d'Arve, CH-1211 Genève 4, Switzerland                                                      406 Reinassance Park, Boston, MA 02115 USA

emanuela.ceva[at]unige[dot]ch                                                                                                c.delmas[at]northeastern[dot]edu




Past events


24.03.2023 | University of Geneva, Switzerland

Affective and Contestatory Reactions to Institutional Failures - Third EnTrust Research Project's Workshop

9:25 - 10:40 | Alfred Archer (Tilburg University), Shame in Response to Institutional Failure (co-authored with Benjamin Matheson)

Discussant: Julien Deonna (University of Geneva)

10:40 - 11:55 | Emanuela Ceva (University of Geneva), The Mixed Affective Fabric of Dysfunctional Institutions

Discussant: Roberto Keller (University of Geneva)

12:10 - 13:25 | Chiara Destri (Goethe University Frankfurt), Political Trustworthiness: What It Is and Why It Matters

Discussant: Michele Bocchiola (University of Geneva)

14:40 - 15:55 | Candice Delmas (Northeastern University), Hunger Strikers' Response to Prison's Failures

Discussant: Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva)

15:55 - 17:10 | Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva), The Roots of Contestation within Institutions

Discussant: Candice Delmas (Northeastern University)

This is an in-person workshop. Attendance is open but requires registration. To register please send an email to by 5 March 2023. 



17-18.03.2022 | Online and at the University of Geneva, Switzerland

Accountable and trustworthy institutions? - Second EnTrust Research Project’s Workshop

Thursday 17.03, 14-18:30 

14:15-15:30 | Michele Bocchiola, Emanuela Ceva, Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva), Endogenous Institutional Trustworthiness

Discussant: Carla Bagnoli (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

15:30-16:45 | Chiara Cordelli (University of Chicago), Privatization, Representation, and Accountability

Discussant: Matthieu Debief (University of Geneva)

17:15-18:30 | ​​​Petr Urban (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), Enhancing Ethical Culture in Czech Civil Service Institutions

Discussant: Serkan Seker (University of Geneva)

Friday 18.03, 9:30-12:30

09:30-10:45 | Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen), Institutional Decay (co-authored with F. Hindriks and R. Wittek)

Discussant: Maria Paola Ferretti (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main)

11:15-12:30 | Chiara Valsangiacomo (University of Zürich), Designing Liquid Assemblies Against the Ungovernability Objection

Discussant: Sara Amighetti (University of Zürich)


This is a hybrid workshop. All times are in CET. Attendance is open, both in presence and from remote, but requires registration. To register please send an email to by 13 March 2022. Papers will be pre-circulated among registered participants.



09-10.12.2021 | University of Zurich, Switzerland

Vested Interest and Democracy - Workshop

Co-hosted by the Doctoral Programme Democracy Studies and DemocracyNet, organized by Olivier Ruchet (University of Zurich, Department of Political Science) and Odile Ammann (University of Lausanne, Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Administration). With a keynote lecture by Emanuela Ceva (Université de Genève).

The recording of the keynote lecture is available here.



7 - 8.09.2021 | Online

Institutional Trustworthiness - MANCEPT Workshops

Session 1: Tuesday 7.09, 12-17:30 (13-18:30 CEST)

Jörn Wiengarn (University of Cologne): “Trustworthy Institutions”

Andrew Kirton (University of Leeds): “Trustworthy Institutions and the Sense of Efficacy”

Emanuela Ceva (University of Geneva), Michele Bocchiola (University of Geneva), Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva): “Institutional Trustworthiness. An endogenous perspective”

Session 2: Wednesday 8.09, 12-17:30 (13-18:30 CEST)

 Laura Burkhardt (University of Bonn): “Trustworthiness or Institutional Reliability? Exploring a conceptual difference”

Matt Bennett (University of Essex): “Institutional trustworthiness is political”

Daniella Meehan (University of Glasgow): “Institutional Vices of Distrust”


The fee for non-speaking attendees is 15£, and grants access to all MANCEPT workshops. After registration and payment, please email to receive the zoom link.




26.05.2021 | 6:00 - 8:00 pm (CET) | Online and at Maison de la Paix

The Inaugural Geneva Debate -  The Graduate Institute, Geneva

Members of the Jury: Prof. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou (The Graduate Institute), Prof. Suerie Moon (The Graduate Institute), Prof. Emanuela Ceva (Université de Genève), Ms Kritika Khanijo (World Health Organization), Mr Mario Jiménez (GAVI / WEF Global Shaper).

Moderator: Mr Marcel Mione, Journalist and Host – Géopolitis, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS).



19.05.2021 | 5 pm—8:00 pm (CEST) | Online

Center for Ethics, Politics, and Society - Book workshop with Emanuela Ceva and Maria Paola Ferretti on

Political Corruption: the Internal Enemy of Public Institutions. Oxford University Press 2021

Discussants:  Camila Vergara (Columbia University);  Mark Warren (University of British Columbia)



06.05.2021 | 1:30 pm—5:30 pm | Online

Should we listen to those who deny science? - Workshop



22.04.2021 | 6:15 pm (CET) |  Zoom


La corruption politique : un problème d’éthique institutionnelle Emanuela Ceva (Université de Genève).



19.03.2021 | 9 am—1:30 pm (CET) | Zoom

Debating Trustworthiness EnTrust Research Project’s Inaugural Online Workshop

Speakers: Karen Jones (University of Melbourne), Thomas Simpson (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford), Katherine Hawley (University of St Andrews), Emanuela Ceva (Université de Genève).