Panels Seeking Papers for ECPR 2020

The ECPR website is now open for paper and panel submissions to the Democratic Innovations Section of the 2020 ECPR Conference in Innsbruck.

Below are the details of eight panels that have an open call for paper submissions (more will follow, so watch this space for updates!). If you would like to propose a paper for one of these panels, then email the listed panel conveners with your:

  • paper title,
  • abstract (max 500 words) and
  • the author(s) name(s) and institution(s).

The deadline for submitting your papers to the panel conveners is 10 February (unless an alternative date is stated below).

If you would like your panel idea added to this list, or have any other questions, then contact the Section Conveners:

Jane Suiter ( and Rikki Dean (

Democratic innovations’ consequences on the policy-making processes


Vincent Jacquet, UCLouvain (

Matthew Ryan, University of Southampton (

The last decades have witnessed the development of democratic innovations (DIs). Social and political scientists have already studied extensively ‘what is going on’ inside such procedures. By contrast, the analysis of their consequences on the policy-making process is still in its early stages of development. Recent scholarship tends to conceive of DIs’ consequences in different ways. Some conceptualize consequences as the degree to which DIs affect formal changes in public policy. Others think of consequences much more broadly as the extent to which they make a difference for collective decisions or social and collective outcomes. What is lacking in between these two extremes are midrange theories, hypotheses and empirical evidence with regard to when and how a DI may have specific consequences on parts of the policy-making process. The objective of the panel is to make progress on the systematization of research on the consequences of DIs –theoretically, methodologically, and empirically.

Deadline: 3 February 2020

Tackling Short-Termism through Democratic Deliberation


Maija Setälä, University of Turku (

Jonathan Kuyper, Queens’ University Belfast (  

Representative democracies have tendencies towards myopia or short-termism, caused by factors such as electoral cycles and influence by organized interest groups. Processes of democratic deliberation, for example in deliberative mini-publics, could help address the problem of short-termism. Most notably, democratic deliberation entails weighing of factual and moral arguments related to policy choices, which is likely to give rise to appeals to intra- and intergenerational justice. Moreover, democratic deliberation helps people consider others’ perspectives and overcome their narrow self-interest. However, there are many open questions pertaining to possible benefits of democratic deliberation. The panel invites papers addressing, for example, the following questions: Can democratic deliberation help consider perspectives of groups who are not present, e.g. future generations? Can democratic deliberation facilitate more sustainable uses of common pool resources? Can democratic deliberation be future-sensitive even in situations of acute crisis or deep-rooted social injustices? How can deliberative mini-publics be made more consequential in policy-making?


Democratic Innovations for Youth Participation


Małgorzata Lorencka, University of Silesia (

Izolda Bokszczanin, Warsaw University (


In many contemporary democracies we can observe the decreasing number of voters participating in elections and in general the disappointment of politics. The economic crisis of 2008 made this trend even more intense. At the same time, the radicalization of attitudes and civic engagement have an impact, especially on youth participation. Analysing different forms of electoral and non-electoral youth participation we can understand the necessary role of democratic innovations in modern states. We  refer to many strategies such as lowering the voting age, gender quotas, open primaries, different form of protests, social networks and e-participation.


The panel seeks to combine papers sharing an investigation in a variety of means to tackle through democratic innovation the exclusion of the interest of young people with electoral and non-electoral participation form. We would like encourage presentation of research papers offering various approach which examine the short-term and long-term impacts of such democratic innovations. Both, theoretical and empirical papers relating the this issue are welcome.


Paper submission:

Please email the panel chairs by 10 February 2020 with:

  • Paper title
  • Abstract (max 500 words)
  • Author(s) name(s) and institution(s)


Democratic Futures and Sustainable Possibilism


Azucena Morán, Institute for Advanced Sustainability (

Hans Asenbaum, Institute for Advanced Sustainability (

Current times are characterized by two apparently unrelated yet strongly interdependent crises: the authocratization wave and the ecological crisis. While an ever-growing number of democratic innovations and new participatory spaces have attempted to respond to the challenges of established forms of democratic governance, and the ongoing ecological crisis has steered new policies for environmental protection and climate change mitigation worldwide, efforts have seem to be insufficient. As crises always demand a non-linearity of time in which the future breaks into the present, this panel sets out to investigate the democratic potential of imagining democratic and sustainable futures in order to react to this double crisis. We believe that the key to the future of democratic, just, and sustainable societies lies in understanding how democratic innovations and participatory spaces can contribute to dealing with ecological challenges. As democratic futures depend on meeting achievable yet ambitious goals towards sustainability, we ask: what would a green democracy look like and how can participatory politics lead to democratic futures and sustainable possibilism?

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers that raise (but are not limited to) questions such as: Are established participatory institutions capable of dealing with future socio-environmental challenges or do new participatory spaces need to emerge? How can future generations be included in current decision-making processes? More generally, the panel will ask what the future of democracy will look like. What do current trends of democratic innovation on the one hand and technocratic tendencies on the other say about the future of democracy? How can the radical democratic politics of grassroots movements generate democratic futures? And what functions do utopias fulfil in creating democratic and sustainable futures?

Direct democracy and its use at multiple levels


Nanuli Silagadze, Abo Akademi (  

Petar Bankov, Glasgow University

Recent years saw a significant rise of direct democracy across Europe at multiple levels. While referendums became nationally and locally a regular part of the decision-making process, institutions introduced also a variety of forms of direct democracy in their internal procedures. Despite this expansion, direct democracy is often viewed as a homogenous phenomenon. However, its purpose and functions vary across the actors involved–governments, political parties, citizens. This panel seeks to disentangle the use of direct democracy at various levels. It aims to explore how it works at national, regional, local, and intra-party levels. The answers to this question help the research agenda to develop a multi-level theoretical perspective onthe use of direct democracy


Deliberative democracy after mini-publics


Nicole Curato, University of Canberra (

Kimmo Grönlund, Åbo Akademi University (


This panel invites papers that reflect on the ways in which deliberative democracy can flourish beyond mini-publics. It seeks to understand the extent to which mini-publics can influence the policy process, shift the course of public conversations, and maintain lasting deliberative impacts to societies after these forums have long concluded. As citizens’ assemblies become the ‘flavour of the month’ in Europe and experiments in large scale Deliberative Polling take place all over the world, it is timely for theorists and empirical scholars to clarify what we can expect from deliberative democracy beyond mini-publics.


Populism and democratic innovations: the good, the bad or the ugly?



Hannah Werner, University of Leuven/University of Amsterdam (  

Kristoff Jacobs, Radboud University of Nijmegen (

The rise of populism is a core concern. One response is to give citizens more options to make their voice heard via democratic innovations, as Macron did by installing a ‘Great Debate’ after the Yellow Vest Protests.

But to what extent can participatory reform respond to the populist challenge? This topic refers both to theoretical compatibility or contradictions among the two and to empirical questions: (1) Is populism an expression of desire for a more participatory kind of democracy? (2) Can participatory reform and deliberation address populism? (3) which innovations are most suitable?

Populism scholars note that populism can be a threat or corrective. This panel aims to take stock of what we know so far: do democratic innovations reinforce the good, the bad or the ugly aspects of populism? It aims at connecting the field of democratic innovations to the field of populism, welcoming both theoretical and empirical contributions.

Inequalities in democratic innovations


Henrik Christenson, Abo Akademi (

Political inequality remains democracy’s unresolved dilemma and the impact of democratic innovations on the issues remains disputed. On one hand, democratic innovations aim to be inclusive and accessible meaning they may mobilize groups that otherwise tend to be politically marginalized. On the other hand, being influential in such participatory mechanisms often require certain civic resources that these same groups may lack, meaning mobilization does not necessarily lead to influence on political outcomes. In this panel, we therefore examine how different types of democratic innovations may affect political inequality by mobilizing groups and increasing their influence on political outcomes.


All Mixed Up? Deliberations between Citizens and Politicians


Kim Strandberg, Åbo Akademi (
Marina Lindell, Åbo Akademi (

Deliberations are rapidly moving beyond the lab and into society in which the main goal is to scale-up and connect deliberative practices to policy-making. This evolution also entails that policy-makers and citizens meet to deliberate on policies. These mixed-deliberations can have different goals. They may serve as places in which to so-to-speak “let out steam” or learn about an issue, arenas in which citizens and politicians gain an increased mutual understanding or, in some cases, even achieve direct legislative impact (e.g. Button & Mattson 1999). Mixed-deliberation are still quite rare occasions in which decision-makers and citizens meet and rationally discuss societal topics (Barrett et al. 2012). Mixed-deliberations, however, are not without their challenges. There a risk that politicians dominate the deliberation and leverage their knowledge and higher status to get their will across (Minozzi et al. 2015). Politicians are also often reluctant to sharing decision-making power and mixed-deliberations therefore run a risk of just paying lip service. Citizens, on the other hand, may care emotionally about the issue of deliberation (Morrell 2010; Strandberg & Berg 2019) and find it hard to be rational and open-minded in deliberating the issue at hand. They may also expect the deliberation to have direct tangible effects on decisions made, which is yet a rare thing to happen.

This panel welcomes papers that concern mixed-deliberation practices on all levels of governance all around the world. We are interested in theoretical, methodological as well as empirical perspectives. The aim of the panel is to explore mixed-deliberations that have taken place all around the world from all possible angles, and draw upon the knowledge from these to establish which factors appear crucial in creating constructive and well-working deliberations between citizens and politicians.


Online deliberation: challenges, affordances, cases and possible advancements



Anastasia Deligiaouri, Dublin City University (

Raphael Kies, University of Luxembourg (

Transposition of deliberative principles and ideas online is a real challenge. Online deliberation and the development of online deliberative platforms constitutes literally an interdisciplinary task as it is the research area in which deliberative theory and practice engages with technological features. This combination requires the synergy between more than one disciplines and imposes several dilemmas as online domain and online discourse has its own communication codes. As e-deliberative platforms advance new features provide more sophisticated tools. Much interest has been invested the last years in argumentation tools and in developing design features that speak to deliberative ideals and can satisfy deliberative ethics. As online deliberation can reach easily and at no cost larger publics, governments and policy makers seem eager to adopt online consultation and deliberation in policy initiatives. To this extent there is a growing number of online platforms that aim to engage in deliberation and several cases such as online consultation, e-rulemaking and crowdsourcing in reaching out policy outcomes. The papers in this panel will examine features, functionalities, procedures and challenges of online deliberation and the possible cases in which they can be implemented under the scope of deliberative democracy and policy making.


Submissions should be directed to both panel convenors. At the topic of the email please indicate ‘ECPR panel’


Direct Democracy and Citizens: Unpacking Conditional Effects.



Stefan Jung, Goethe University Frankfurt (

Jonathan Rinne, Goethe University Frankfurt (

Research on the relationship between direct democracy and political participation commonly scrutinizes either what citizen direct democracy requires or how direct democracy affects citizens. The first question addresses the input side, that is which capabilities and resources allow citizens to effectively participate in different direct democratic procedures. The second question refers to the output side, that is which institutional and contextual characteristics of direct democratic procedures affect citizens’ political attitudes and behavior. What we are lacking is research that connects both the input and output questions. In this panel, we contribute to unpacking the conditional relationship between characteristics of citizens and the effects of direct democracy. We invite scholars to consider how citizens’ characteristics shape direct democracy’s effects on citizens and encourage a more precise and rigorous assessment of what input leads to what output. To this end, both qualitative and quantitative approaches are welcome. In providing insights into the conditional relationship between direct democracy and citizens, this panel seeks to link current debates on citizens’ democratic capacities and the role of direct democratic procedures in democratic systems.


Legal Aspects of Implementing a Deliberative System

Anna Przybylska, University of Warsaw (
Tobias Escher, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (


The law sets the context for deliberative policy-making through procedures, which guide processes. Consequently, it impacts the quality of interactions between policy-makers and citizens as well as their outcomes. The introduction of a deliberative system requires the modification of existing legal rules or the enactment of new ones. The panel aims at identifying legal challenges to the implementation of a deliberative system and discussing potential solutions to the recognized obstacles. Questions that we might want to address include: 1) How to reconcile the universal rights of citizens to participate in political activities (embedded in constitutions) with the participant selection procedures in public consultations inspired by the model of deliberation? 2) To what degree are norms of deliberation embedded in regulations on public consultations in the multilevel governance system? 3) What is the impact of institutions that create and monitor standards for civic participatory mechanisms (informed by the model of deliberation) on the performance of institutions being monitored? 4) What changes in the law are necessary in order to use Information and Communication Technologies in deliberative participatory processes? 5) What deliberative mechanisms have been institutionalized so far, and how legal regulations have been adapted to make it possible?


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