Artisanship in Culture and Enterprise


November 5–7, 2020

Arizona State University | Tempe, AZ

Call for Papers

Ideological and political polarization increasingly inhibit creative and consensus-building responses to social problems. Yet, as Vincent Ostrom observed, “human relationships are integrally bound together through artisanship and the artifactual character of human creations that are constitutive of cultures, societies, and civilizations as aggregate patterns of order.” The future of self-governance depends upon a citizenry who refuse to allow government “to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of [their] happiness… to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living” (Tocqueville). In a free society, robust citizenship requires more than just voting and policy advocacy, but also active engagement in crafting community together.

The 2020 Research Conference on Voluntary Governance will convene scholars interested in exploring how people in ordinary life across a society (and between societies) actually come to coordinate their activities to enable the achievement of individual and collective goals. We seek papers and presentations that:

  1. Explicate and develop the concept of artisanship as a framework for both creative problem-solving and transcending widening ideological gaps.
  2. Explicate and develop, through theoretical analysis and/or case studies, the meaning of a “science of culture” and the interplay between common knowledge, shared communities of understanding, patterns of accountability, and mutual trust in the constitution of viable social orders.
  3. Explore how the self-organizing and self-governing capabilities of citizens in democratic political orders originate and are cultivated and sustained.
  4. Explore the cultural foundations of creative civilizations.
  5. Present case studies of historical and contemporary social enterprises that successfully present creative and consensus-building responses to social problems, especially in the areas of education, criminal justice, and welfare-to-work.


What you need to know:

  • Paper proposal deadline: EXTENDED to April 15, 2020
  • Proposal acceptance notification: After May 15, 2020
  • Paper submission due: October 1, 2020
  • Conference dates: November 5–7, 2020

Submission Instructions

To be considered for inclusion in the conference program, all proposals must be submitted at the link below by April 15, 2020. Please provide an abstract of no more than 250 words and include a brief CV of no more than 2 pages. Submissions that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Submit Proposal

The Center for the Study of Economic Liberty will provide modest support for travel and hotel accommodations. More information will be released at a later date.

If you have any questions, please email

Conference Organizing Committee

Paul Dragos Aligica, Mercatus Center F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, George Mason University

Lenore Ealy, The Philanthropic Enterprise and Charles Koch Institute

Ross Emmett, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty and School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Arizona State University

Vlad Tarko, Political Economy and Moral Science, University of Arizona