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La Maison Rousseau et Littérature: Open Call for Works on the ‘Social Contract’

Which social contract for the 21st century?

MRL - La Maison Rousseau et Littérature is organising an international and interdisciplinary competition that aims to promote projects that question the Social Contract in the light of contemporary emergencies and to draw its face for tomorrow.

By affirming the principle of the people’s sovereignty through a community of free subjects, advocating the liberation of the individual through education, and denouncing the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, Jean-Jacques Rousseau helped to set the coordinates of modern politics. His thinking could not have been closer to today’s concerns. The climate crisis, a lack of equal opportunity, the erosion of democracy through technological change, social exclusion, the restriction of individual and collective freedoms in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic… at a time when our society is threatened, it is urgent that we invent a new paradigm for tomorrow, a social contract for the 21st century.

This international, interdisciplinary competition therefore aims to promote projects that examine the Social Contract in light of contemporary crises and draft a design for tomorrow. By investigating avenues for a new social order serving the general interest, this competition should facilitate a collective rethinking of ecology, public health, participatory democracy, social justice, and any other key global factors, creating substantial impetus for a new model of society. Based on a theme crucial to Rousseau – contract, obligation, common good, public interest, citizenship, ‘amour des lois’, governmentality, property, security, corruption, secularism, etc. – entries to this competition, individual or collective, may come in any form, using any medium: theoretical text, work of art, film, practical project, etc.

The competition will award a prize of $20,000 for participants aged 25 and younger, and a prize of $20,000 for participants over age 25. One of the competition’s main objectives will be to present the most interesting projects to a national and international audience, both to share the results of this collective engagement and to encourage future generations to commit to a free participatory and inclusive society.


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