2015 Conference

Closing Speech at the 2015 IASC Conference

eBook of the Abstracts

definitive agenda A4 IASC conference 2015c


«The body can symbolize existence because it realizes it and is its actuality.It sustains its dual existential action of systole and diastole. On the one hand, indeed, it is the possibility enjoyed by my existence of discarding itself, of making it self anonymous and passive, and of bogging itself down in a scholastic […]. At the very moment when I live in the world, when I am given Over to my plans. My occupations, my friends, my memories, I can close my eyes, lie down, listen to the blood pulsating in my ears, lose myself in some pleasure or pain, and shut myself up in this anonymous life which subtends my personal one. But precisely because my body can shut itself off from the world, it is also what opens me out upon the world and places me in a situation there. The momentum of existence towards others, towards the future, towards the world can be restored as a river unfreezes» (Merleau-Ponty 1967: 164-5).

In the 2015 edition, the annual IASC international and interdisciplinary conference on conflicts is dedicated to the relationship between conflicts, communication and the body. As explained in the words of Merleau-Ponty, the body constitutes the indispensable medium of any communication process. In this sense, the body becomes the agent of an opening to the world, but also, the interpreter of an opposition to the world. Referring to the body, then, means to introduce a clear reference to embodied intentionality (Forrai, Kampis 2005; Jensen RT, D. Moran. 2013), in which our relationship with meaning is operated through our whole being, not only through our thought. According to this approach the very idea of rationality that is separate from the body is thus called into question.

The body is an integral and indispensable part of every act of human communication, even the most abstract. The body is one’s window to the “world” – receiving signals, interpreting them, reflecting them back and venting signals out. Scholars talk about “embodied intentionality”, which is a holistic interaction between the whole human organism and the symbolic realm. Within this paradigm, meaning is never abstracted from the human embodied agency. Rather, “body language” becomes integral to communication, along with tattoo, theatre, even political struggle. Both armed conflicts and non-violent campaigns mobilize the body as an instrument and as a template on which evidence is written and demonstrated. One of the most extreme manifestations of these developments within the contemporary industrialized culture is the hunger strike.

In line with the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop, the areas of reference are manifold: theory of controversies, logic of dialogue, otherness, community psychology, philosophy of non-violence, ethics of communication, medicalization of violence, conflict resolution, self –induced violence, role of the caring professions, medicine, human security, empathy, rationality, politics of reconciliation, human rights, identity issues, human-machine interface, Artificial Intelligence and robotics.

Some questions accompany our research:

  • Is a peaceful personality compatible with self-starvation and other forms of public acts of self-harm and self-degradation? What are the forms of self-induced harm and what is their role in a conflict?
  • Is Law and “rationality” really the best way to deal with physical and emotional trauma?
  • What is the role of body language in communication? How personal communication styles can help to reduce potential conflicts? (Brockman 1999; Chapman, Gratz and Brown 2006; Gluckman 2001; Olivier 2010; (Burton 1987)
  • What is the relationship between human dignity and responsibility? (Barilan 2012).
  • What is the role of the body within “malignant conflicts” (Musallam, N., PT Coleman, A. Nowak. 2010)
  • What is the role of the body in the politics of reconciliation? (Gaertner 2011)
  • What is the relevance of the trio conflict-communication-body within the internal life of the organizations? (Mayer, 1974).


Barilan, Y.M. 2012. Human dignity Human rights and Responsability. The New Language of Applied Ethics and Biolaw. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press.

Brockman, B. 1999. Food refusal in prisoner: a communication or a method of self-killing? The role of the psychiatrist and resulting ethical challenges. Journal of Medical Ethics. 25: 451-456.

Burton, J. 1987. Resolving deep-rooted conflict: A handbook. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Chapman, A.L., L. Gratz, M.Z. Brown. 2006. Solving the puzzle of deliberate self harm: the experimental avoidance model. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 44: 371-394.

Forrai, G., G. Kampis (eds.) 2005. Intentionality. Past and Future. Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi.

Gaertner, D. “The Climax of Reconciliation”: Transgression, Apology, Forgiveness and the Body in Conflict Resolution. Bioethical Inquiry(2011) 8: 245-256.

Garasic, M.D. 2015. Guantanamo and Other Cases of Enforced Medical Treatment. Springer

Gluckman, A. 2001. Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Mayer, R.J. 1974. Communication and conflict in organizations. Human Resource Management.

Merleau-Ponty, M. 1967. Phenomenology of perception. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Musallam, N., P.T. Coleman, A. Nowak. 2010. Understanding the Spread of Malignant Conflict: a Dynamical System Perspective. Peace and Conflict, 16: 127-151.

Olivier, M.A. 2010. Trauma, bodies and performance art: Towards an embodied ethics of seeing. Continuum 24: 119-129.

Jensen R.T., D.Moran. 2013. The Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity. Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London: Springer.



Marcelo Dascal, Yechiel Michael Barilan, Mirko Daniel Garasic, Leah Gruenpeter Gold, Joseph Lehmann, Giovanni Scarafile

Closing date for registration online and submission of abstracts:

1 October 2015. New deadline: October 10, 2015.

Notification of abstract acceptance: 31 October 2015

Deadline for the conference fee payment: 15 November 2015


A Skype session will be available for those speakers who cannot be personally  present at Tel Aviv during the Conference. 

Please send a 400-500 word abstract (in English) with a short bio for a 20-minute paper (max. 20 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes for discussion) to:



Paper proposals should include the following elements:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author(s) name
  • Author(s) institution affiliation, address, and contact e-mail
  • Abstract text (max. 400-500 words)
  • Times New Roman font size 12 pt.


Inscription Fee

Non-IASC Members: 70 EUR (conference materials included; Conference fee does not include: travel and accommodation costs, coffee breaks, lunch)

IASC Members: 30 EUR

Students: Free entrance


To pay the Conference fee, you have two options.

1) Bank Transfer:

Account Holder: International Association for the Study of Controversies

Bank Leumi Le Israel, Pinkas Branch, Tel-Aviv.

IBAN: IL790108320000018410088


Please make sure to include your name and the conference title “Conflicts, Communication and the body” in the description of the bank transfer.

2) PayPal button on IASC’s official site: http://www.iasc.me


Confirmation of your presence at the 2015 IASC Conference

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