Call for Papers: A New Route for Participation: Democratic Innovations in Eastern Europe

Call for Papers

International Workshop

A New Route for Participation: Democratic Innovations in Eastern Europe

11-12 May 2017, Södertörn University, Stockholm (Sweden)


In recent decades the process of political representation faces several challenges and problems, while citizens have become increasingly discontent and gradually abandoned the traditional modes of involvement: electoral turnout is in decline, party membership shrinks, and the amount of loyal voters decreases. Scholars and citizens pin their hopes on participatory innovations as a means to cure democratic malaise. Several governments at both national and local levels have gone down the participatory route and implemented various kinds of democratic innovations that allow citizens to make their voices heard. Such innovations range from direct democracy (e.g. referendums, agenda initiatives, recall) to deliberative practices (e.g. deliberative polling, consultative mini-publics, participatory budgeting etc.) in offline and online settings. To better understand the complexity of this picture, a close look at the forms, functioning and effects of these democratic innovations is necessary. Along these lines, the workshop aims to bring together researchers discussing developments in Eastern Europe, either with an emphasis on single-case studies or with a comparative perspective. The workshop will provide the space for an academic debate in which scholars can present the most recent findings of their research. The event will be interdisciplinary and addresses scholars from Political Science, Sociology, History and European Studies. Accordingly, a variety of perspectives and approaches will be encouraged.


Target Group and Workshop Structure: The workshop will seek to attract a mix of established scholars, early-career researchers, and PhD students conducting research on Eastern Europe (including the Baltic countries). To increase the exchange of ideas, each paper giver (in total 15-17 participants) will serve as discussant for another paper. This mix of participants will be beneficial for the scholars and students at our university. The workshop will be organized for two days (11 and 12 May) and each presenter will be allocated 45 minutes: 20 minutes to present the paper, 10 minutes for the discussant and 15 minutes for general discussion.


Planned outcomes: Depending on the homogeneity of the papers, a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal or an edited book may be feasible. This was done in 2015 (in East European Politics), based on a similar workshop.


Costs: The organizers cover the accommodation costs (for 2 nights, 10 and 11 May), meals and local transport for all participants. Participants are expected to cover their travel costs to and from Stockholm. There is no conference fee.



Joakim Ekman, Professor of Political Science, Södertörn University

Sergiu Gherghina, Lecturer in Political Science, University of Glasgow

Olena Podolian, PhD candidate, Södertörn University


Application procedure: Please submit an abstract of max. 200 words together with your academic affiliation to Olena Podolian at until 15 February 2017.  Early applications are strongly encouraged, while submissions after the deadline will not be considered.

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