Apply to one of our 8 panels in Wroclaw!

In the next ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw we again hope for a large presence. Our Section “Hybrid concepts and the concept of hybridity” features 8 panels, all of which still have room for papers. Submit your abstract through the ECPR platform by Monday, 18 February, and feel free to also contact the panel chairs beforehand. Here below are descriptions of the planned panels.

Panel overview for Section “Hybrid Concepts and the Concept of Hybridity”

Hybrid Regimes in Comparative Politics: Are They Here to Stay?
Chairs: Hans-Joachim Lauth (University of Würzburg), Matthijs Bogaards (CEU Budapest)

Traditionally Comparative Politics has been working with clear types of regimes, such as autocracies and democracies. In recent decades, this typology has been extended through various classic and diminished subtypes, for example defective democracy. Nevertheless, it seems that even this extension does not cover all empirical findings. This is true for regimes but also for its components, such as rule of law or civil society.
In all realms, the existing types do not fit very well anymore. As a result, a growing number of hybrid findings is reported. This is surprising because hybrid types are normally understood as exceptional and transitional. Therefore, several questions arise:
• Can the reported growing number of hybrid regimes be confirmed? What are the reasons for
the development of hybrid types?
• What are the most promising conceptual strategies to make sense of regime hybridity?
• Can we differentiate further between subtypes of hybrid regimes?
• Are hybrid regimes here to stay? What are the mechanisms supporting their stability?
We welcome paper proposals that engage with these theoretical, methodological, and empirical questions.


The Hybridity of Political Space as a Concept
Chairs: Anna Kronlund, Taru Haapala (both University of Jyväskylä)

In the traditional view, ’politics’ is a spatial concept. It is commonly associated with representative assemblies or political parties which operate in a certain sphere of politics. Increasingly, however, political activity can take shape in other spaces, too. For example, new forms of online politics have increased in the era of Facebook and Twitter. But the hybridity of political space is not only a new phenomenon. Political spaces can be constituted temporarily in discourse as well. What constitutes as ‘political space’, then, is a matter of perspective and interpretation.
This panel aims at conceptualising political space in order to understand the variety of the phenomenon as well as to theorise the hybridity of the concept. Who sets the space for which kind of politics? How is it done in practice? And for what kinds of political purposes? The panel invites both theoretically and empirically oriented papers dealing with discursive, institutional, constitutional, civil society and populist aspects, to name a few.


Conceptualising Parliamentary Populism
Chairs: Taru Haapala (University of Jyväskylä), Elena García Guitián (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

The idea of ‘parliamentary populism’ is a combination of two opposing concepts: parliamentarism
and populism. Whereas the concept of parliamentarism typically involves the ideas of political
pluralism, deliberation between opposing opinions, established representative practices and sets of rules, ‘populism’ attacks the “political elite” and appeals to a direct expression of the general will, revoking the existing rules (e.g. Mudde and Rovira, 2012). Yet, their compatibility can be taken for granted in existing democratic political discourse. In this sense, this type of hybridity can also be found in political theory or empirical studies of representative democracies alike. In empirical political studies, for example, the parliamentary voting behaviour of populist parties has been under examination (Otjes and Louwerse, 2015).
In order to critically examine the dynamics of the opposing concepts and their uses, this panel proposes to conceptualise ‘parliamentary populism’. It investigates what kinds of forms ‘parliamentary populism’ can take, exploring its institutional as well as theoretical implications. It invites both theoretically and empirically oriented papers, from various subdisciplines of political research as well as neighbouring disciplines.


Rhetoric of Hybrid Concepts
Chairs: Kari Palonen (University of Jyväskylä), Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences)

Many now common compound concepts of political language are historically interesting results of initially opposite concepts. ‘Popular sovereignty’ or ‘representative democracy’ are well-known example of such ‘hybrid’ concepts, but by closer inspection almost any of compound concepts can be dissolved to units, the combination of which has by no means been easy to achieve.
For this reason it is worth taking a closer interest in the origins of such concepts. First, we can discuss the historical contexts in which they have been launched or gained plausibility among the addressed. Secondly, we can direct attention to the rhetorical schemes or figures that make the combination of opposed ideal types possible. The classical figure to enable such initially unbelievable moves is oxymoron, which nonetheless can be identified in the justification of many concept, say for example ‘Christian democracy’. Another scheme, which has contributed to the shifting normative tone of concepts, is paradiastole, in the sense of changing vices into virtues. It lies the origins of many ism concepts, such as Victor Hugo’s adoption of parlementarisme, used pejoriatively by Louis Bonaparte. Not all such attempts to such concepts are successful – the Communist duplication ‘people’s democracy‘ could be quoted here, but also they and other experimental balloons to lauch hybrid concepts are worth closer studies.
In the panel we want papers including
– historical studies of such hybrid concepts
– rhetorical analysis of the processes of invention and legitimisation of such concepts
– analysis of the rhetorical repertoire that favour the formation of such hybrid concepts
– studies of new and recent inventions of hybrid concepts


Looking for new core concept of democracy (?).
Chairs: Toralf Stark (University of Duisburg Essen), Norma Osterberg-Kaufmann (HU Berlin)

Democracy is one of the most controversial concepts, both theoretically and empirically. When we ask people what they associate with the term democracy, they often refer in their first reaction to the core norms of freedom and equality. But if we ask them more in detail, their understanding of democracy is much more differentiated. Thus, from the perspective of political theory, several
meanings of democracy are discussed, especially after the travel premise that the meaning of democracy changes over time and space. On the other hand, there is the scientific necessity, especially in comparative political science, to come back to established mainstream concepts. On the one hand, they avoid conceptual stretching; on the other hand, empirical analyses require a clearly operationalizable theoretical background. They often follow a Western, universal logic, while the reality in which we are interested is also non- Western. Having both, sometimes contradictory, positions in mind, we therefore ask for new core concepts of
democracy. Which theoretical configurations of democracy are applicable in Western and non-Western countries? Which methods help us to learn more about the core concept of democracy, taking into account the idea of hybridity of meanings and understandings? These and related questions will be part of the papers we will discuss in the upcoming panel.


Authoritarian Democracy
Chairs: Bastiaan Rijpkema (Leiden University), Anthoula Malkopoulou (Uppsala University)

Authoritarianism and democracy are most often understood as completely opposite regime forms, but recent political and theoretical developments suggest that the hybrid concept of ‘authoritarian democracy’ is emerging in public debate and theoretical scholarship. On one hand, contemporary populists in Europe are arguing for disjoining the liberal and democratic elements of ‘liberal democracy’ in favor of an illiberal or authoritarian democracy. On the other hand, militant democrats are arguing for various restrictions on political parties and political rights in order to safeguard liberal democracy against subversive extremism; for some critics, this militant understanding of democracy carries with it exclusionary, if not authoritarian connotations. This panel invites papers that deal with historical and/or contemporary notions of authoritarian democracy – including illiberal or militant democracy- its justification, its normative status and its internal, conceptual contradiction. 


Europe in crisis
Chairs: Claudia Wiesner (Fulda University of Applied Sciences), Ben Martill (LSE)

The European Union is regarded to be in a severe crisis at least since 2008, when the financial crisis began to hit. This labelling brings about several questions. The first ones concern the concept of crisis as such – crisis is a concept that is often criticised for both being used in inflationary manner and be a catch-all concept. The sole example of the EU underlines this: since the early days of integration, there was frequent talk of “crises”. Second, it is contested what the crisis – presuming there is one – consists in: is it an institutional crisis, showing us the limits of the EU´s current institutional system? Is it a policy and effectiveness crisis that would only necessitate more efficient policies and governance structures? Is it a crisis of trust and support in the EU, as Eurobarometer seemed to indicate for some time during the peak of austerity politics? Is it a crisis of commitment of the member state governments towards the common goals of the EU, leading to severe conflicts about issues such as migration policy and the safeguarding of democratic standards? Is it a crisis of EU over-regulation, as the Brexiteers claimed? Is it maybe an overall crisis of representative democracy, as a rising support for right-wing populist and right-wing extremist parties in Europe indicates? This line of questions could be pursued for some time. Third, is it an EU crisis or a European crisis? And what does either labelling mean?
The panel aims at discussing these and related questions.


Hybrid Political Cultures: Conceptualizations, determinants and consequences
Chair: Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach (Würzburg)

In their seminal study, Almond and Verba (1963) made the claim, that a Civic Culture – which is a specific mixed-type of participatory, subject and parochial orientations – would be the best fit for the stability of democratic regimes. Today, we would name this type of political culture a hybrid political culture, because it combines three ideal types of political cultures. Recent research – which especially looks at the combinatory logic of regime preferences (democratic and autocratic preferences) – shows empirically that for regions like East Asia (Mauk 2014, Shin/Kim 2017) or Subsahara Africa (Bratton 2002), that the preference for hybrid political regimes are much more frequent than one would expect. This would maybe explain, why political regimes in the so-called “greyzone” may be much more persistent over time because their political structures are much more congruent to the diverse political orientations of their citizens. This panel aims to discuss this phenomenon of hybrid political cultures in more depth and asks for papers that engage not only in conceptualizing and measuring such cultures but also ask for determinants and consequences of their existence.

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