CFP – ECPR Joint Sessions workshop on the Substantive Representation of Marginalised Groups

Dear all,

At the next ECPR Joint Sessions (Sciences Po, Toulouse), 14-17 April 2020, we are organizing a workshop on the Substantive Representation of Marginalised Groups. We would like to invite everyone interested to submit a paper proposal.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts for this workshop is 5 November 2019.

Substantive Representation of Marginalised Groups: Re-Conceptualising, Measurement, and Implications for Representative Democracy

The workshop aims to gather scholars who are interested in understanding and measuring the substantive representation of traditionally disadvantaged or marginalized groups. Living in today’s world, where gender, migration and diversity are commonly encountered themes in media outlets, political actions and addresses, civil society’s goals, and a reflection of social reality more generally, we believe that a better understanding of what political representation means is pertinent to achieving equality – in gender, in ethnicity, in religion, in social class and in all aspects that set aside one (underrepresented) group from all others. Therefore, in calling this workshop we want to attract scholars from various sub-fields – gender and politics, party politics, political representation, ethnicity and politics, civil society organizations – who study the representation and rights of a particular group, as well as scholars working on intersectionality, and the interplay of several identities, and its impact on representation. Starting from the premise that political representation is not a one-stop-shop, but it is a process, which involves the interaction among several societal actors, the workshop aims to create a discussion among all those involved in studying substantive representation.

The overarching questions guiding this workshop will be:

  1. How to conceive of, and measure, substantive representation of marginalized groups? Substantive representation in Pitkin’s understanding is an active form of representation, but what does this ‘acting for’ imply: is it linked to certain activities in the political process and/or to actual policy outcomes? Where shall we look for representative acts –is one place/level of socio-political interaction more important, powerful, and meaningful to society, than another, and will it help us refine its definition and thus move forward?
  2. How do conceptions and measurements of substantive representation vary across subfields, representative sites and marginalized groups under study? Does substantive representation of one marginalized group (for instance, women) have the same meaning as substantive representation of another group (for instance, ethnic or religious minorities), and if not, wherein lies the difference? How to assess and measure the quality of substantive representation across social groups and political contexts?
  3. What are the broader implications for the study of equality in representative democracy? Put differently: why should we care: what makes substantive representation so important? Is there a link between the quality of substantive representation, the quality of democracy and the level and expression of equality within a country?

You can find more information on the topic of the workshop and the types of papers we solicit at:

All applications should be submitted directly via the ECPR website

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch: Ekaterina Rashkova ( and Silvia Erzeel (

Best wishes,

Ekaterina and Silvia

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