The Public Good, Social Innovation and the New Global Political Agenda
Le bien public, l'innovation sociale et le nouvel agenda politique globale


Abstract submission deadline
Les résumés doivent être envoyés avant le
Termen de trimitere a propunerilor

24 / 04 / 2016

This section accepts proposals in English (preferred language) or French.


This section within SCOPE 2016 aims to contribute to debates which explore how different representations of the public good, governance and social innovation shape the public space and impact the private sphere, and how such representations and their interaction construct a global social and political agenda. For this purpose and acknowledging that the distinction domestic politics / 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:

Public Interest, Representation and Accountability in Contemporary Politics
This sub-section aims 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 and political 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.

Within this subsection, a special workshop on the 2016 Romanian local and parliamentary elections and a roundtable on the 2016 US presidential elections and its international impact will be organized by the members of the centre's Romanian Electoral Studies research program:

The Romanian 2016 local elections: voters, candidates, and political parties (special workshop)
The 2012-2016 electoral cycle has been characterized by high levels of mobilization among the public, leading to three prime ministers being replaced: Emil Boc in February 2012, Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu in May 2012, and Victor Ponta in November 2015. The upcoming local and parliamentary elections in 2016 will be, from this perspective, the first elections in Romania’s post-communist history to be conducted in a context characterized not only by increased political participation, but also by a feeling that the “street” can have a political role, that this increased political participation can actually change politics and politicians if used properly. These will also be the first elections since the 1990s to benefit from increased political competition. The recent changes in the legislation regarding the registration of new political parties have led to new political parties being formed and it is expected a significant proportion of them will run at least in the local elections. The section we are proposing aims to bring together scholars interested in analyzing these new developments in the context of the 2016 local elections. We encourage papers to focus on at least one of the main groups of actors in these elections: voters (both as individuals, and as formally or informally organized groups), candidates, and political parties. Although the focus of the section is the 2016 local elections, we also encourage proposals that incorporate time-comparisons. Since the topic we are proposing is broad, we are open to both quantitative, and qualitative or mixed-methods papers.

Social Innovation, 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 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, most papers in this sub-section are expected to address one of these topics: (i) the impact of new technologies in contemporary polities (whether democracies, autocracies, or both); (ii) how social innovation benefits from or is hindered by the new technologies; iii) how to 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 the relation between new technologies and contemporary social movementse-democracy or the relation between information technology and privacy are also welcomed.

The Ethics and the Aesthetics of Discourse on Public Goods and Public Policies
This sub-section explores the moral and the aesthetic dimensions of the public discourses on public goods, 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, otherness and timely topics such as the recent civil wars, popular uprisings and refugee crises in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Latin America or global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and more recently Ebola and Zika, are particularly welcomed. The use of less traditional sources such as artistic films, travel documentaries, cartoons or advertisement, as well as comparative approaches and diachronic perspectives are also highly encouraged.

United Europe under Threat?
From increasingly present xenophobic and nationalist discourses to the Brexit debates or to the militarist foreign policy of Russia towards its European neighbourhood, the ever closer union of European peoples seems to be represented today in both mass media, as well as in some policy and academic circles as a project which has become under serious threat from both domestic and external factors. How did we get here? How can the European Union reform itself so that it successfully faces such challenges? Is conditionality still a useful conceptual tool for understanding the EU leverage in its dialogue with national governments? What is the impact of EU in Ukraine, Turkey and the Balkans in a time when the focus quickly shifted toward the larger migration crisis? How does the migration policies of EU member states affect the institutional and discursive structures of the Union? This sub-section addresses such puzzles and explores the latest debates in the field of European studies.

Rethinking the Global Agenda on Peace and Development
Aiming to contribute to the timely debates that assess the new UN agenda on peace and development (i.e. Sustainable Development Goals), as well as the existing proposals for its advancement, this sub-section explores particularly 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 and political agenda. Proposals can address a wide range of topics including new forms of international donors (including EU) and new forms of conflict, or more traditional puzzles such as human security, or the role of foreign direct investments in global governance. Theoretical or conceptual papers on how International Relations / International Studies should address such topics are also encouraged.

Within this subsection, a special workshop on democracy and international development will be organized as part of the research project New Actors & Mechanisms of Democratic Accountability in International Development: Reputation Building of ODA Emergent Donors (demoAID), within the centre's research program ID Lab - International Development Laboratory

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