Public Space(s), Private Values: In Search of a Global Social Agenda
Sphère(s) publique(s), valeurs privées: à la recherche d'un agenda de la société globale
Sferă publică, valori private: În căutarea unei agende sociale globale 


Online registration deadline

20 / 04 / 2015

This section accepts proposals exclusively in English.

At the core of contemporary politics, the nexus democracy-governance-identity is intimately related to the continuous negotiation and construction of various perspectives on the limits of public space and ultimately on the content of the public agenda. This is perhaps most visible from a global, comparativist viewpoint, as the differences between such perspectives may appear more striking. At the same time, there are numerous attempts to build a common public agenda at global level. Among these, the leading political project is the United Nations Millennium Development Goals initiative which, reaching its term in 2015, requires both a substantial assessment of its results and a new impetus for further common action. 

The numerous exchanges on the topic among scholars and practitioners have revealed the need of a more socially relevant agenda and closer dialogue with local cultures, a fact which addresses directly the issues of governance and identity. At the same time, new technologies, particularly those in communication, have challenged significantly the traditional mechanisms of representation and governance. However, given the last decade's economic crisis and democratic turmoil accross the world, the current political climate seems to foster rather conservative approaches to international cooperation, favouring short-term security priorities over medium- and long-term economic and social development priorities. Within this context, how is a more consolidated global social agenda possible? 

This section within SCOPE 2015 aims to contribute to such debates through an exploration of how different representations of democracy, governance and identity shape the public space and impact the private sphere, and how such representations and their interaction construct a global social agenda. For this purpose and acknowledging that the distinction domesticpolitics / international politics has become increasingly artificial for both practical and theoretical goals, it proposes the following sub-sections that build on various traditions of political research, including bot not limited to comparative politics, political sociology, political history, international relations, international political economy, development studies, and peace studies:

The 2010’s: A Bad Decade for Democracy?
The last few years did not appear very auspicious for democracy – in the post-Communist region, in the whole Europe, or the whole world. If democracy in Romania looks rather shaky, it does not look very good in the neighborhood, either: authoritarian leaders in Turkey and Hungary appear to consolidate their positions, while in Ukraine, the direction of the new regime is very much uncertain. All across Europe, radical Euroskeptic, authoritarian and xenophobic parties have made significant gains; in the Middle East, the Islamic State makes al-Qaeda look like a moderate organization. If we take all these developments into account, what are the prospects for democracy in the world (at least in its genuine, liberal form)? This sub-section seeks to explore the political and social impact of these complex phenomena that took place in the world in recent years, and/or offer educated predictions about what will happen in the future, by focusing on democracy as either the dependent or master independent variable. Organized in partnership with the Center for the Study of Democracy at the Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca.

Public Interest, Representation and Accountability in Contemporary Politics
The representation of the individiual in the public space, the construction of the public interest and the accountability of the public representatives are issues at the core of all political regimes and thus fundamental puzzles of political research. This sub-section explores them aiming to identify how the interaction between older and newer forms of public representation and public accountability redefine the contemporary public space in both democratic and no-democratic contexts, and how such interactions contribute to building a global social agenda. Proposals are expected to touch particularly but not exclusively upon political parties, electoral campaigns and voting behaviour, human rights, minorities, political elites, public opinion, public policy, (global) civil society, corporate social responsibility (CSR), integrity systems and corruption.

e-Me: New Technologies and the Politics of Information
The development of new technologies has had a major impact, not just on economic and social life, but on politics as well. They change how citizens act and interact with politicians and institutions in established democracy; equally important, if not more, they help the people in authoritarian regimes to mobilize and challenge their leaders, as well as communicate what happens there to the outside world. But new technologies do not merely provide new objects for scholarly inquiry; they are also important in providing new tools for studying political phenomena (such as the Facebook experiment conducted in 2010 in the US, aimed to increase the turnout in elections, or the study that used aggregate data provided by Google as a proxy for measuring latent racism across US regions). Accordingly, the papers in this sub-section will fall in either of two categories: they should either (i) study the impact of new technologies in contemporary polities (whether democracies, autocracies, or both), or (ii) make a creative use of new technologies (or the data provided by them) to ask substantive questions relating to our discipline. Proposals on topics already classic in this field such as e-democracy or the relation between information technology and privacy are also welcomed.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Public Discourses on Democracy, Governance and Identity 
This sub-section explores the moral and the aesthetical dimensions of the public discourses on democracy, governance and identity, aiming to identify the common features of such discourses and the way in which they impact the public opinion and the public policies in various spheres, and thus contribute to the construction of a global social agenda. Papers on the representation of democracy and democratic values  in mass-media and popular culture, as well as on hate speech, alterity and timely topics such as the recent civil wars and popular uprisings in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Latin America or global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, are particularly welcomed. The use of less traditional sources such as artistic films, travel documentaries, cartoons or advertisments, as well as comparative approaches and diachronic perspectives are also highly encouraged.

The Global Agenda on Peace and Development: Old Problems, New Trends
For the last fifteen years no other project has identified so closely with the global social agenda like the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Aiming to contribute to the timely debates that assess the impact of the MDGs, as well as the existing proposals for their advancements, this sub-section explores the new trends in the fields of peace and developments studies, with a focus on how good governance and democratic principles translate across different cultural contexts and how these foster or challenge the consolidation of a global social agenda. Proposals can address a wide range of topics including new forms of international donors and new forms of conflict, or more traditional puzzles such as human security or the role of foreign direct investments in global governance

The convenors of this sub-section also invite contributions for a special workshop dedicated to the European Year of Development 2015 as part of the international forum Europe and the New Global Agenda on International Development to be published with the Annals of the University of Bucharest. Political Science Series, issue 2/2015 (guest editors Simon Lightfoot, University of Leeds - and Luciana Alexandra Ghica, University of Bucharest -

Europe and the New Global Agenda on International Development
In 2015, the European Union marks for the first time in its history the European Year of Development. This brings it to the forefront of international efforts aimed at evaluating and (re)formulating a new global agenda on international development following the expiration of the deadline set for the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals generated through the ambitious project adopted in 2000 by the UN member states under the umbrella of the Millennium Declaration. Beyond the uncertainties triggered by the new security climate and despite an ever growing public awareness on international development, both practitioners and scholars still often find themselves lost in the complexity of the field, as well as in the many ideological battles on which the domain has grown. Europe has been a particularly sensitive issue in this respect throughout the history of development research and policies but the context also significantly changed since the first debates on such topics. So where does Europe stand now in international development? Which new phenomena and actors matter for Europe’s development policies and external action? How can European teaching and research in the field contribute to better global policies? To address such puzzles, the guest editors invite contributions on Europe and the new global agenda on international development, with a focus on new phenomena and actors of international development; theoretical and conceptual advancements in the field; the security/development nexus; the role of the European Union in international development; research and teaching issues in international development/international studies.

All sub-sections welcome both theoretical and empirical papers, and strongly encourage a comparative approach.