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.

Thank you for your interest in the Voluntary Governance Conference.

Registration is required to attend and participate in the conference.

Register Now

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

Agenda is tentative and subject to change.

Times are in local AZ MST (UTC-7).

Time Zone Converter

Thursday, November 5

8:00 a.m. — Keynote: Crisis as a Source of Social Capital

  • Virgil Storr, George Mason University
    • Crisis as a Source of Social Capital

9:00 a.m. — Break

9:30 a.m. — Session 1: Practical Applications

  • Tara Bartlett, Arizona State University
    • The artisanship of participatory democracy: Cultivating and sustaining self-governing capabilities among youth through School Participatory Budgeting
  • Bryan Bruns, Independent Researcher
    • Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation
  • Robert Wright, American Institute for Economic Research
    • Reducing Recidivism

11:00 a.m. — Break (Lunch)

Noon — Session 2: Cultural Governance

  • Sasha Klyachkina, University of Wisconsin–Madison
    • Post-Conflict Governance: Divergent Legacies of Civil War in Post-Soviet Chechnya
  • Seth Frey, University of California, Davis
    • Institutional development of online communities
  • Anthony Gill, University of Washington
    • The Comparative Endurance and Efficiency of Religion: A Public Choice Approach

1:30 p.m. — End

Friday, November 6

8:00 a.m. — Session 3: Democratic Citizenship

  • Karol Soltan, University of Maryland, College Park
    • A Strong Program for the New Civics
  • Alexis Carré, École Normale Supérieure
    • Raymond Aron and the Moral and Cultural Conditions of Liberal Democracy during War Time

9:00 a.m. — Break

9:30 a.m. — Session 4: Modeling Governance

  • Richard Hammer, Independent Researcher
    • Artisanship Established in a New Model of Life
  • Seth Frey, University of California, Davis
    • Emergent cultural differences in online communities’ norms of fairness
  • Roger Koppl, Syracuse University, with Abigail Devereaux, Wichita State University
    • Explaining Technology

11:00 a.m. — Break (Lunch)

Noon — Session 5: Governance in Social Movements and Groups

  • Mikayla Novak, Australian National University
    • Social Movements: An Ostromian Orientation
  • Nathanael Snow, Ball State University
    • The Political Economy of the Informal Social Group, and the Origins of Legitimacy
  • Nathan Goodman, George Mason University
    • Polycentric Defense in the Civil Rights Movement

1:30 p.m. — End

Saturday, November 7

8:00 a.m. — Session 6: Comparative Politics

  • Peter Galbács, Budapest Business School
    • Artisans, migration, and the market mechanism — the case of Hungary
  • David Diaconu, National School of Political Science and Public Administration
    • One Village, Two States: An institutional analysis on Dorna Valley

9:00 a.m. — Break

9:30 a.m. — Session 7: Political Economy and Voluntary Governance

  • Jennifer Murtazashvili, University of Pittsburg
    • Pseudo-polycentric governance
  • Malavika Nair, Troy University
    • Robust Political Economy and Civil Society

10:30 a.m. — Break

11:00 a.m. — Session 8: Governing Corruption

  • Richard Gunderman, Indiana University
    • The Dark Side of Artisanship: The Black Tar Heroin Trade
  • Edwar Escalante, Angelo State University
    • Terrorism and Crime: The Self-defense Association in Peru
  • Blaire Modic, University of Pittsburg
    • Property rights and informality in the judiciary: a study of expropriation in Costa Rica

12:30 p.m. — End

Why are you hosting the Voluntary Governance Conference virtually 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. By making papers available prior, our presenters get adequate feedback on their work in progress.

Only those registered for the conference will receive the link to the final working papers.

How long are sessions?

Each session will be between 60 to 90 minutes long depending on the number of presenters in each session. Each presenter will have roughly 20 minutes to present with 10 minutes for Q/A from the audience.

What time zone is Arizona?

Phoenix, Arizona is MST (UTC-7). You can use this simple time zone converter to convert your time zone with the local conference time.

Time Zone Converter

Are there sponsorship opportunities?

Yes, please email CSELConference@asu.edu.

I have more questions!

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

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

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

Lenore Ealy, Charles Koch Institute
Senior Fellow of Communities, Charles Koch Institute
President, The Philanthropic Enterprise

Vlad Tarko, University of Arizona
Assistant Professor of Political Economy and Moral Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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

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

Note: The Center for the Study of Economic Liberty will provide modest support for travel and hotel accommodations.

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