Edward Hopper, Night Windows 1928
Oil on canvas
DIGITAL IMAGE © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art/Scala, Florence

Decency is important for the way the live, both in public life and in the private sphere. Yet as we push into the 21st Century, ‘decency’ increasingly appears to be coming under pressure across numerous fronts and on a diverse number of levels.

In one sense, decent housing, decent food, decent healthcare, decent education and a decent job are all considered necessary for people to flourish. Yet this seems to stand at odds when used by powerful groups—political, social or religious—to denounce others for indecency. ‘Decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens’ are set in stark opposition to ‘the others’ – the feckless, the lawless, the merely different or the ‘morally corrupt.’ In these cases, decency is more like an ethical force, the lack of which is deemed dangerous. And the image of decency can be used as a cover, for example, when persons who are outwardly decent and respectable use their wholesome images to hide despicable conduct.

So what is decency? How do we know it when we see it? How do we learn it? And how should it be understood, used and applied?


1st Global Conference
Decency: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Saturday 9th March 2019 – Sunday 10th March 2019
Prague, Czech Republic

Submissions are now open.