Mind the gap. Political Participation and Representation in Belgium (ECPR Press)

Mind the Gap (ed. by Kris Deschouwer) is a book on the difficult times of modern representative democracy, and on the way in which political science is trying to make sense of it. Forecasting election results has become a very risky business, and explaining the often-surprising results must increasingly rely on case-by-case ad hoc interpretations. This book is based on ten years of research on political participation and representation in Belgium by the interuniversity research team PartiRep.

Using several surveys among the population and politicians, voting aid applications, focus groups and experiments, it draws a picture of a parliamentary and representative democracy that faces multiple tensions and multiple gaps. It discusses a wide range of political processes and actors, placing them in a comparative perspective, and exploring to what extent the Belgian case fits into the general picture.

Chapters deal with political socialisation, political parties, representation, economic voting, preference voting and personalised voting, democratic preferences, identity politics and campaign effects and on the way in which elites and citizens try to find their way and make sense of this complex multi-level and linguistically divided country in the heart of the European Union.


The Professionalization of Public Participation

A new publication: The Professionalization of Public Participation edited by Laurence Bherer, Mario Gauthier and Louis Simard.


The Professionalization of Public Participation is an edited collection of essays by leading and emerging scholars examining the emerging profession of public par- ticipation professionals.

Public participation professionals are persons working in the public, private, or third sectors that are paid to design, implement, and/or facilitate participatory forums.The rapid growth and proliferation of participatory arrangements call for expertise in the organizing of public participation.The contributors analyze the professionalization of this practice in different countries (United States, France, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom) to see how their actions challenge the development of participatory arrangements. Designing such processes is a delicate activity, since it may affect not only the quality of the processes and their legitimacy, but also their capacity to influence decision-making.


A New Article: “What drives the polarisation and moderation of opinions? Evidence from a Finnish citizen deliberation experiment on immigration”

by M Lindell, A Bächtiger, K Grönlund, K Herne, M Setälä and D Wyss.

Published in European Journal of Political Research, Volume 56, Issue 1, February 2017, Pages 23–45.


New anthology on Civil Society and Innovative Public Administration, at Nomos Publishers.

Some of the authors are involved in the standing group and many chapters are closely connected to research on democratic innovations. More information: Flyer-Freise and Table of Content


Newsletter covering the international Conference “Democracy: A Citizen Perspective” held May 27–28, 2015 is available online

Newsletter September 2015

The Centre of Excellence in Democracy Research (D:CE) at Åbo Akademi University reached its final year 2015, and an international conference was held to mark the completion of activities in the centre, that has been in operation since 2006. The newsletter highlights the keynote speeches held by professor Diana C. Mutz and professor David M. Farrell as well as the five panels and a special session that were held at he conference.


Policy Studies Special Issue (Volume 36, Issue 3, 2015) on The Sites of Deliberative Democracy, edited by Selen A. Ercan and John S. Dryzek, University of Canberra, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance.

This special issue includes articles that seek the prospects for and limitations of realising public deliberation beyond structured forums in contemporary democracies. The special issue includes articles reflecting on the most recent research on the theory and practice of deliberative democracy, written by: John Boswell, Douglas Chalmers, Nicole Curato, Jennifer Dodge, John Dryzek, Selen Ercan, Charles Girard, Ricardo Mendonca, Ian O´Flynn, George Vasilev.

You can view the special issue here


A New Article: Does Enclave Deliberation Polarize Opinions?, by Grönlund, Herne & Setälä


Brand new from ECPR Press

Deliberative Mini-Publics: Involving Citizens in the Democratic Process, edited by Grönlund, Bächtiger and Setälä. For more information click here.


Deliberative Democracy. Issues and Cases, edited by Stephen Elstub and Peter McLaverty. For more information click here.