All posts by Mathilde Chatin

Information about 2018 APSA Annual Meeting (Aug. 30 – Sept. 2) in Boston

Theme Statement

Democracy and Its Discontents
The theme for this year’s meeting of the American Political Science Association is Democracy
and Its Discontents. These are challenging times for democracy. In many established
democracies, the aftermath of the 2008 and the 2011 economic crises is opening up new
spaces for new challengers and popular grievances. The complex relationship between national
systems of rule and a global economy is leading to greater tensions both within democracies
and between them. Existing rules and party systems are under strain as new cleavages emerge,
with populism, nativism, and illiberalism all jostling for popular support, as well as new
experiments in representation. Developed democratic systems are experiencing greater
discontent among voters. Global flows of people, capital, and investment undermine national
identities and institutional arrangements. At the same time, there are challenges to the
legitimacy of international institutions that are seen as limiting economic and democratic
The United States faces particular questions, as economic inequality, identity politics, and
polarization dominate political debates. The presidential victor, for the second time in sixteen
years, won office without a majority of the popular vote. Emerging and relatively new
democracies too are undergoing upheaval, as some leaders turn away from traditional norms of
liberal democracy based on contestation between plural forces towards an illiberal model, in
which leaders and ruling party are entitled to reshape domestic rules to their own benefit.
Informal norms of democratic behavior, such as opposition rights, accountability, and
transparency are being violated across several democracies. Non-democratic countries too are
being affected, both because there is no longer much of an expectation that they will become
democratic over time, and because their own policies and options are affected by the changes
in democratic states elsewhere. All this poses political theoretic questions as well as empirical
The current dilemmas of democracy provoke scholars to work across different sub-disciplines
and specializations to understand these changes. For example, how do we understand the
impact of international factors such as migration, automation, and changes in economy on
domestic political party systems? The recent turn in several countries towards illiberalism is in
part a product of parallel evolution under similar pressures, but is also plausibly the
consequence of cross-national influence, as actors in one context learn from another. How do
security arrangements, predicated on coordination among democratic nations, survive the
erosion of liberal norms? What are the consequences of regime shifts for social policy, welfare,
courts, or the media?
Taking a page from scholars of competitive authoritarianism and illiberal democracies, can we
fruitfully think about recent political developments in the United States as regime backsliding?
How are political parties, civil society, and interest groups responding? What is the role of the
center-left and the center-right here? Which comparative and historical parallels provide the
greatest insights in examining the discontents of democracy? How do informal norms depend
on and interact with formal institutions such as courts, parliaments, and central banks?
Equally, understanding the dilemmas of national democracies requires an attention to
theoretical issues as well as empirics. Is the legitimacy of democracy in crisis, or is this simply a
transitory phase? Which institutional equilibria, regimes, and political configurations are
especially likely to be fragile, and which are resilient? How ought we to think about the role of
demagogues and anti-liberal rhetoric? Are there other plausible models for institutions of
representation and decision making that might lead to better democratic outcomes?
As Chairs for the 2018 Conference, we welcome proposals that address the discontents of
democracy from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. We particularly
welcome proposals that work across subfields and approaches to address the new questions
that are emerging, and work that looks to bring disciplinary debates and public dialogue into
closer alignment with each other.

Call for proposals: IPSA Research Committee #36

The structure of political power has long been an important issue in the study of democratic
governance. Where precisely power resides in the practice of modern representative democracy
is a controversial issue, especially in a period of political transformations. In light of these
interests the RC 36 IPSA power studies research group seeks proposals broadly related to
power and democracy.

Proposals should be emailed at:,,


Program Coordinators
David STRECKER, University of Erfurt, Germany, Arthur BUENO, University of Erfurt, Germany,
Session Overview
1. Cultural Performance: Reconceptualizing Social Change in Modern Societies
2. Global Violence: Local Conflicts and Competition for Attention and Legitimacy
3. Mass and Democracy: Two Sociological Concepts in Tension
4. Memory and Communication
5. Money, Capital, and Modern Life: Building Conceptual Bridges Between Marx and Simmel
6. Politics of Recognition and Cultural Citizenship
7. Postcolonial Theory, Internal Colonialism and the Markers of the Historical Subject
8. Price, Value & Worth: Conceptualizing Social Practices of E/Valuation
9. Re-Specifying Trust: Alternative Forms for Re-Thinking Modernity
10. Relational Sociology: What Are ‘relations’ and Why Does It Matter to Study Relations? 11. Rethinking the Role of Political Economy in Critical Theory
12. Social Visibility: Conceptual Explorations
13. The Many Faces of Power: A Current Conceptual Synthesis
14. Business Session
Abstract submissions


The CONGRESS WEBSITE with relevant information is:

Participants may be listed no more than twice in the Program. This includes all types of participation – except being listed as Program Coordinator or Session Organizer. Program Coordinators and Session Organizers can organize a maximum of two sessions where their names will be additionally listed in the program. A “participant” is anyone listed as an author, co-author, plenary speaker, roundtable presenter, poster presenter, panelist, critic, discussant, session (co)chair, or any similar substantive role in the program. A participant cannot present and chair in the same session. ISA does not require anyone to be a member in order to present a paper, and provides different registration fees for members and non-members. In order to be included in the program the participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay registration fees by March 20, 2018 24:00 GMT. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Program Book and in the Abstracts Book. In case of a co-authored paper, in order for a paper to appear in the program at least one co-author should pay the registration fee by the early registration deadline March 20, 2018 24:00 GMT; the names of other co-authors will be listed as well. If other co-authors wish to attend the conference they must pay the registration fee.

Applications for grants must be made by January 31, 2018 24:00 GMT by the participants directly to the RC Program Coordinator. One can apply for a grant to only one RC/WG/TG. The ISA Secretariat will advise the RC/WG/TG if someone has applied to or been recommended by more than one group for the various types of grants. It is recommended to avoid repetition of the same persons who received grants for a previous conference. Grants will be paid by the ISA directly to the selected individuals. Two categories of grants have been established for active participants in the RC/WG/TG programs. Registration grants for individual ISA members in good standing (i.e. who paid the individual membership fee at least two years before the month of the ISA conference) who play an active role in the conference program either as program coordinator, session organizer/chair or paper-giver. Travel/accommodation grants for individual ISA members in good standing (i.e. who paid the individual membership fee at least two years before the month of the ISA conference) resident in countries listed in economies B or C who play an active role in the conference program either as program coordinator, session organizer/chair, panelist, discussant and/or paper-giver.

Interim Conference in Pavia (May 30 and 31) – schedule available on the website

RC 36 Interim Conference “Power of Narrative” at the University of Pavia, Italy – May 30 and 31, 2017

The schedule is now available on the website.




MAY 30

9:30-12:30 Authority and World Politics

12:30-14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 17:00 Legitimacy and Authority

19:30 Dinner

MAY 31

9:30-12:30 Liberalism, Crisis and the Market Society

12:30-14:00 Lunch

14:00-17:00 Organisations, Social Movements and Empowerment

19:30 Dinner

Call for Panels for Research Committees, IPSA International Conference: Political Science in the Digital Age: Mapping Opportunities, Perils and Uncertainties

Call for Panels for Research Committees

IPSA International Conference

Political Science in the Digital Age:

Mapping Opportunities, Perils and Uncertainties

December 4-6 2017
Hannover, Germany

Program Chairs: Marianne Kneuer and Helen Milner

The International Political Science Association (IPSA) is organizing an international conference that will be held on 4-6 December 2017 in Hannover, Germany. Chaired by Marianne Kneuer and Helen Milner, the conference will take place in Hannover’s spectacular Palace of Herrenhausen, surrounded by gardens that date back to the Baroque period. You can find more information on the event website

The conference, entitled “Political Science in the Digital Age: Mapping Opportunities, Perils and Uncertainties”, provides the opportunity for a reflection on the discipline and one of its most relevant challenges, namely digitalization. The conference aims to bring together officials and members of the national Political Science Associations of IPSA and members the IPSA Research Committees in order to further develop networks and cooperation among these groups. The conference will also be a platform for addressing challenges as well as developing ideas for future research within IPSA.

Digitalization – or the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of everyday life – is the most dominant signature of the 21th century so far. Society, economy and politics are all affected by a multitude of implications that digitalization embodies. The Internet and social media have not only multiplied the communications channels in an unprecedented way but also have had a substantial impact on the interaction between politicians and citizens as well as all societal actors. Formerly more or less institutionalized channels of communication between on one side politicians and media, on the other side media and citizens have been replaced by a myriad of decentralized networks. While actors in politics and media formerly steered communications flows, digital-based networks now tend to have unpredictable effects in their scope, scale, and therefore in their impact. Opinion-building and decision-making processes are increasingly influenced by the functional logic of digital media; factors like the acceleration and synchronicity of information, the multimodality of the messages, and the interactivity and connectedness of providers and users all are reshaping social, economic, and political life. This is true for domestic as well as for international politics. The dissolution of communicative boundaries creates a new transnational space of connectedness on all levels of agency. In consequence, ideas, norms and values spread more easily and rapidly; in the same way the diffusion of policies, institutional elements, and governance techniques are facilitated.

For the discipline of Political Science the digital revolution implies at least two challenges: On one side, the subjects of research are concerned: national as well as international actors, communication between government and societal actors, the relation between politicians and citizens, aspects of political economy, aspects of regulation, e-governance and net politics, diplomacy cybercrimes and cyberwar, etc. On the other side, digitalization influences the academic sphere not only in terms of research but also in terms of teaching, learning and publishing. This latter challenge includes the more practical dimension involving political consulting and policy recommendations.

It is important that Political Scientists reflect on the current and future implications that the digital age holds for the discipline. The aim of the conference is to examine these challenges adopting a broad approach. Such a broad perspective will enable examining how digital media transforms the relations and communications between international, governmental and societal actors. The conference will comprehend five thematic sessions:


Political Theory

How do digital media influence the public sphere? Do they open new spaces for deliberation? What implications does it have for politics if the boundary between public and private increasingly becomes blurred? Where are the boundaries between gains of freedom and loss of privacy? What does it imply about political discourse now that citizens have become content providers? Does the openness of information foster more knowledge or does it facilitate the ‘transparent citizen’?

Comparative Politics

How will the digital revolution affect politics? How do politicians use digital media? What changes can we observe in electoral campaigning and elections themselves? And how do citizens use digital media? Can citizens’ online participation fill the ‘participation gap’ and enhance legitimacy? Or are emerging new participatory divides? Does the digital revolution help spread knowledge and/or allow ever more elite control of information provision? Which digital divides can be identified and which effects do they have on opinion-building and decision-making? Is the Internet prone to enhance inclusion or does is accentuate exclusiveness among people? Do e-voting, e-referenda, etc. provide new opportunities for decision-making and political accountability? How do authoritarian regimes exploit digital media? Does digitalization help keep them in power or provide means to push for more democracy?

International Relations and World Economy

How do digital communications and networks affect relations among countries? Is the digital revolution an asset or rather a stress factor for international politics? What consequences does this new ‘openness’ have for international diplomacy? Is the digital revolution a source of progress or rather an obstacle for international cooperation? What impact will cyberwarfare have? Does this represent a new domain of conflict among countries, which is more dangerous?  What are the implications of the fact that the providers of communication networks and the owners of massive amounts of personal data like Google and Facebook at the same time are firms? Will the digital revolution accelerate economic growth or retard it? Will it increase inequality given the “digital divide” among countries, or help alleviate it? Will it increase the probability of economic crises as it speeds up communications and compounds agents’ reactions? And does the availability of ever more data available to ever more people at ever faster speeds provide more benefits or more dangers?


Which new methodological tools have been facilitated by digital technology? And which new methodological approaches or tools do we need to capture online communication and interaction (e.g., online content analysis)? Which new ways of data collection are available, and what are the implications for researchers for data protection? Do we need new theories and concepts? How should studies be tailored to capture the empirical implications of digitalization in the various subdisciplines?

Teaching and Learning

Which new opportunities provides digitalization for teaching (see e.g. MOOCs)? Which teaching formats can combine digital and analogue approaches? Who can benefit from e-learning and how? How can citizenship education benefit from digital modes of knowledge and value building?

Proposal Procedure

The conference consists of different formats of panels. The Program Chairs offer the Research Committees to organize panels in the exposed Sessions. The slots for each panel are 90 minutes. Please submit panel proposals before April, 15 2017.

What to include in your panel proposal:

1)      The Session where you want to be allocated.

2)      Title of the panel.

3)      Chair and Co-Chair, discussant for the panel (names, affiliation, mailing address).

4)      Abstracts of 4-5 paper givers (names, affiliation, mailing address).

Please send the proposals to

Note that every participant must be IPSA members.