2020 Research Conference on Voluntary Governance

Artisanship in Culture and Enterprise


November 5–7, 2020

Arizona State University | Tempe, AZ

UPDATE: Due to COVID-19 and the unknown reach of the virus internationally in the coming months, we find it necessary to hold the conference virtually. The health of the Sun Devil community is a top priority, which includes implementing safety measures necessary to keep students, employees and guests safe. While everyone would probably prefer the warm winter sun of Phoenix, we believe we can still engage with each other in vibrant conversation online and look forward to keeping the same dates as planned.

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 CSELConference@asu.edu.

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


Thank you for your interest in the Voluntary Governance Conference.

Registration is required to attend and participate in the conference.

Registration Coming Soon

If you have any questions, please email CSELConference@asu.edu


Coming Soon!


Why are you hosting the Voluntary Governance Conference online rather than in-person?

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and for the safety of all attendees and students, we determined it was best to host a virtual Voluntary Governance Conference via Zoom rather than canceling.

Who can attend the Voluntary Governance Conference?

The conference is geared towards scholars both local and international. All students and ASU staff are more than welcome to attend as well. The goal of the Voluntary Governance Conference is to provide a forum for scholars to receive feedback on their work in progress papers. 

Do I have to register to attend?

Yes, registration is required in order to receive your personal link via email to join the webinar. This also allows us to have an accurate headcount for an improved attendee experience at this and future events.

Do I need to download Zoom?

The web browser client will download automatically when you start or join your first Zoom meeting, and is also available for manual download here.


For more information about Zoom and system requirements, you can visit the Zoom Help Center.

Do I need an account to use Zoom?

You do not have to have a Zoom account to attend a Zoom meeting or webinar. You will be prompted to download the software, once you have clicked on the link that you have been provided via email after registering to attend the Winter Institute. You may also wish to create an account, but that is not required to participate in a Zoom meeting.

Will the papers being presented at the sessions be available before the conference starts?

Yes, papers by the presenters will be distributed prior to the conference start so attendees have an opportunity to read and get familiar with the topic prior to the sessions. This way our presenters get adequate feedback on their work in progress.

Are there sponsorship opportunities?

Yes, please email CSELConference@asu.edu.

I have more questions!

For any additional questions, email CSELConference@asu.edu.