ECPR 2023 General Conference: Call for panels/papers closed for the SG sponsored Section ‘Change of Epoch or Epoch of Change? Innovation and Change in South European politics and Society’

Change of Epoch or Epoch of Change?

Innovation and Change in South European Politics and Society


Nicolò Conti (Unitelma Sapienza University of Rome)

Carolina Plaza Colodro (University of Salamanca)


In recent decades Southern Europe has been affected by multiple developments linked to processes of change dictated by internal transformations and by impetuous external shocks such as a series of crises. Southern Europe has condensed the diverse, often antithetical, scopes of social and political change worldwide, serving as a fertile breeding ground for the research on change in the three dimensions of politics, polity, and policy. 
The Southern European countries underwent diverse trajectories in terms of democratic consolidation and party system institutionalisation, but have experienced similar economic, social and political pressures since 2008. Among others, we can mention forms of political crisis and policy-making failures at home that have marked the domestic push for change and political renewal. Furthermore, the economic and financial crises, the migration crisis and the pandemic crisis which have acted as catalysts for change, requiring emergency solutions in contexts already stressed by internal tensions. Then, the region’s nature as the EU's Southern frontier and its distinctive structures of welfare provision demand innovative institutions and policies to handle the multidimensional challenges arising from the different crises. 
The change has affected many dimensions of political action and social coexistence, from the restructuring of the party system, to the renewal of the political class, to government formulas, public policies, the sphere of rights, the fabric of society and the mobilisation of citizens. The literature has investigated many of these aspects of change, often placing them in the context of various crises and in the perspective of emergency and to a certain extent, forced solutions. We ask ourselves whether the situation of multiple pressures and crises, both endogenous and exogenous, which have affected Southern Europe and which have made the region in recent decades a formidable laboratory of political and social change should be studied not only from an emergency perspective, but of structural change and, possibly, of innovative practices. Ultimately, Southern Europe may have been pushed towards forms of accelerated change and could represent a privileged observation point for understanding mechanisms of innovation that have found extreme cases in the region, of which other regions are not exempt, however. In other words, Southern Europe could become an observation point for understanding change and innovation in Europe with a magnified glass.
This Section aims to analyse innovation and change in the countries of Southern Europe in terms of politics, policy and polity. Geographically, the Section covers Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. We aim to put together descriptive and causal contributions addressing both homogeneity and heterogeneity of change and innovation processes with attention paid to the main (aggregate, country-specific, individual-level) factors explaining change and innovation in the region. 
We are open to panels proposing theoretical-conceptual elaborations and original empirical analyses on change processes and innovative practices in single countries, or comparisons within the region, or comparisons with other countries or other regions beyond Southern Europe. The Section welcomes contributions employing a range of disciplinary (political science, political economy, management studies, sociology, social psychology, social policy, communication studies, ethnography, IR) as well as interdisciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches.

NOTE: we received a high number of submissions, we are now selecting panels/papers, the final decision will be announced early in April.  

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