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Conference 2024

12-14 September 2024

Sections SISP 2024

The next SISP Conference has 14 Sections jointly agreed with SISP Standing Groups:

12 ordinary Sections;

2 ‘Jolly Sections’ approved by the SISP Steering Committee. 

This list may be modified by the Steering Committee on a biennial basis taking into account the consolidation of some emerging issues in the discipline.

The 2 Jolly Sections aim to involve those Standing Groups that do not have their own reference Section, as well as the local organizing committee.

Coordinators: Tiziana Corda, Gianni Del Panta, Alessandra Russo

The Section “Political Regimes and Transitions” sees for the first time the collaboration and synergies of the Standing Groups “Political Regimes” and “Russia and the Post-Soviet Space”. It aims to gather together researchers who, starting from different perspectives (e.g. comparative politics, international relations, political theory, area studies) and based on a plurality of methodologies (both quantitative and qualitative), study democratic and non- democratic regimes, global and regional trends of democratization and autocratization, and the processes of regime change, including their determinants and possible consequences, as well as their relations to foreign-policy making and international/transnational dimensions. Whereas special attention is paid to post-communist countries – the so-called “Global East” – different area specialisms and comparative endavours are warmly encouraged. Within this admittedly broad framework, we encourage the submission of panel proposals
addressing one or more research topics from the following non-exhaustive list:

– The comparative study of democratic and non-democratic regimes, with a focus on both institutions, public policies, and socio-economic performance;
– The analysis of the various phases of the processes of regime change, such as democratization, autocratization, and other kinds of regime transition and transformation;
– The analysis of the impact of the processes of regime change and transformation on public policies and development;
– The analysis of the quality of contemporary democratic regimes in light of the challenges that they have recently faced;
– The examination of the functioning of contemporary authoritarian regimes and of their survival strategies;
– The study of the phenomenon of democratic resilience and the strategies of resistance against autocratization;
– The investigation of the sub-national and supranational dimensions of democratization and autocratization;

– Regime stability, survival and successions in the framework of illiberal and hybrid political orders;
– International trends of democratic backsliding, and international mechanisms and practices of democracy promotion and protection;
– The international dimension of authoritarianism and the contestation of / resistance to the diffusion of liberal-democratic norms and institutions.

Coordinators: Marco Almagisti, Antonio Campati, Diego Giannone, Damiano Palano

This Section aims to collect proposals for panels and papers that seek to reflect, in a general sense, on the role, methods and contribution of political theory and political history in political science.
The complexity of contemporary political phenomena, at the national, supranational and international levels, increasingly encourages a return to theoretical models and approaches capable of classifying, understanding, explaining and describing an era of profound transformations. In other words, it proposes once again the centrality of concepts and their construction. Furthermore, the historical orientation of the field of political theory promotes an understanding of how abstractions, questions and problems have developed over time.
The contribution of political theory and political history to political science thus seems essential, both for its intrinsic heuristic power and for the possibility of fostering fruitful encounters between models and “conceptualizations” of politics, on the one hand, and empirical approaches and qualitative and quantitative methodologies, on the other.
In this sense, contemporary political phenomena can be reread and interpreted through the lens of theory and conceptual development, key aspects – as Sartori teaches us – for political science. A possible intersection that includes, by way of example, key concepts and categories of political thought, including – but not limited to – freedom, equality, the theory and practice of  representation, types of democracy, the state, ideology, technocracy, nationalism, populism, the nature of the European Union, citizenship, the political regimes of international institutions and their role, or issues of war and peace.
Moreover, a rethinking of the contribution of classical approaches to politics to the understanding of political phenomena seems imperative today. Think, for example, of the continuing contribution of realism, the crisis of (neo)liberalism, Marxism (e.g. in relation to the state), social constructivism or postcolonial approaches.
The section therefore encourages panel and paper proposals that highlight the critical role of political theory and political history in political science. For example, proposals might include:
– the key concepts of political theory (‘politics’, ‘power’, ‘representation’, ‘legitimacy’, ‘democracy’, etc.);
– the historical reconstruction and genealogy of particular concepts or theories;
– the ‘macro-political’ theoretical models;
– the methods of concept construction;
– the relations between empirically oriented political theory and the traditions of political thought and political philosophy;
– the relationship between political theory and research methods;
– the relevance of the ‘classics’ of political thought (ancient, modern and contemporary) for political science research;
– Empirically-oriented areas and issues. E.g. technocracy, populism, crisis of democracy.

– the different trajectories of political and economic development at the national and local levels;
– the comparative perspective needed to place national contexts in a spatial and temporal dimension of change, in which international phenomena interact with national and local developments.

Coordinators:Elisabetta De Giorgi, Selena Grimaldi, Andrea Pedrazzani

Contemporary representative democracies are often conceptualised as chains of delegation relationships that connect citizens to the political system. Along the chain, citizens delegate decision-making powers to elected representatives sitting in legislative assemblies and to the members of the executive. Political office-holders are in turn made accountable to citizens through a variety of instruments among which political parties are prominent, especially in parliamentary systems. This conceptual framework places primary emphasis on classical themes such as the quality of electoral representation, the degree of policy congruence between citizens and political elites, the functioning of political institutions and the nature of executive-legislative relations. Along with these topics, there is a growing scholarly literature focusing on non-electoral forms of representation. This section is devoted to the analysis of both classical and emerging topics related to parliaments, governments and representation, at sub-national, national and supranational level. We welcome panels examining the relationship between citizens and the political elite – candidates, members of parliament (MPs), party leaders –, the careers of politicians, the behaviour of (elected and prospective) parliamentarians, the internal organization of parliaments, issue-politics in parliament, the legislative process, executive-legislative relations, executive politics and non-electoral forms of representation. We additionally encourage panels on institutions such as courts. Panels on the consequences of the various crises – economic, migration, health, military crises – that have impacted on democracies in recent years are also welcome. This section is open to panels that focus on the Italian political system as well as to those that adopt a comparative approach.
Panels may focus on – but are not limited to – the following topics.

Citizens and political elites
Political representation is a particularly complex and multifaceted concept, as politicians can connect to citizens in many ways. Elected and prospective MPs represent their voters not only through constituency work and the provision of resources for the district, but also by behaving in a responsive manner to voters’ opinions. For this reason, the study of the attitudinal correspondence between citizens and politicians still constitutes a major topics for scholars interested in representation. Analysing policy congruence between voters and politicians is an especially promising line of research in light of the crises that have recently hit European democracies.

Political careers
Italian political scientists have devoted a great deal of attention to the study of political careers. Much has changed since the days when Giovanni Sartori analysed the biographical characteristics of the Italian parliamentarians. The availability of new online data on candidates, parliamentarians and holders of executive posts in local, regional, national and supranational institutions opens new opportunities to study career trajectories within and across different institutional settings.

Legislative behaviour
The topic of legislative behaviour is a classical one, and has often been connected to the study of intra-party politics and electoral incentives. Two innovations are revitalising these studies: on the one hand, the availability of new data on legislative and non-legislative activities and methodological advances have opened virtually unlimited possibilities for eager analysts; on the other hand, a new lively debate on the factors influencing legislative behaviour has recently developed. The old divide between those looking at social norms and values and those considering politicians as purely rational actors has given way to a more constructive effort to understand how the logic of appropriateness and the logic of consequentiality may interact.

Internal organisation of parliaments
The study of the internal organisation of the parliament has a long tradition in Italy, especially with regard to the peculiarities of Italian bicameralism and the role of legislative committees. However, a lot of work is still to be done in this subfield. As parliaments are institutional bodies that evolve over time, existing systematic comparisons across political systems need to be updated. Moreover, the Italian case offers a number of extremely interesting topics to be addressed: among others, the revisions of the standing orders, the evolution of the (once so powerful) legislative committees, and the impact of the recent reduction in the number of MPs on the functioning of the two chambers.

Issue-politics in parliament
According to the issue-competition literature, political parties compete by mainly emphasising issues on which they enjoy an advantage over their political opponents. While issue competition was originally studied by analysing party manifestos, recent works have also started shedding light on how and why parties distribute issue attention in the period between elections and, more specifically, while fulfilling their representative role in parliament. Studying the content of parliamentary questions, bills, laws, decrees and speeches has become one of the most promising ways to investigate issue competition beyond the electoral context.

Legislative process
As highlighted by an extensive and ever-growing research programme on policymaking in multi-party systems, the legislative process mainly serves as a venue where the members of governing coalitions manage their day-to-day relationships and reach policy compromises. The availability of a huge volume of online data on legislative processes and outputs now allows scholars to investigate several topics in this subfield by adopting a large-N design. Some examples are analyses of the patterns of cooperation, competition and conflict among actors (belonging to the government and/or the opposition), works on the consequences of fragmentation in parliament, the study of how different preferences in the two chambers shape legislative outcomes, and analyses of legislative production in times of crisis.

Executive-legislative relations
Since the beginning of the 21th century European politics has been shaken by several crises such as the Great Recession, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. While the first two have changed the content of political competition and increased polarisation, the third one is believed to have fundamentally altered the equilibrium between parliaments and governments. The pandemic has contributed to an expansion of executive powers to the detriment of accountability mechanisms, weakening parliamentary representatives’ oversight and policy-making capacities. However, there are signs that legislatures have been able to react, innovating their (sometimes) old-fashioned procedures. As for the Ukraine-Russia war, the impact of this shock on executive-legislative relations is still to be investigated in depth.

Executive politics
Executives are prominent in ordinary policymaking – especially in parliamentary democracies – and play a leading role in managing crises. Although topics such as the lifecycle of cabinets and the output of government activity have been extensively studied in the comparative literature, many aspects of executive politics are still to be explored. For example, the governance phase has received far less attention than the stages of government formation and termination. Moreover, our knowledge can be well improved regarding patterns of ministerial stability and personnel continuity between cabinets. Also, the role of technocrats and technocratic expertise in decision-making processes has to be further investigated, especially in the context of the recent crises.

Non-electoral forms of representation
Political theorists have recently emphasised that a representative relation may emerge even outside the electoral context. There is a representative relation whenever someone claims to speak or act on behalf on someone else, provided that such claim is accepted by the relevant audience. Non-electoral representation is very common in democratic systems: social movements and “self-appointed representatives” are typical actors whose aim is to champion a cause without having received a mandate to do so. Non-electoral representation can contribute to the correction of some limitations of the traditional representative institutions and may serve as a preventive force against the hegemonic power of political authorities.


Coordinators: Fabio Bordignon, Rossana Sampugnaro

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, a plurality of EU citizens (38%), when asked to identify the primary threats to democracy, cite “false and/or misleading information in general circulating online and offline”. 22% mention “propaganda and false/misleading information from a non-democratic foreign source”. Approximately half of EU citizens (51%) identify “voters having access to accurate information to make an informed choice” as one of the most crucial aspects of free and fair elections. In the great election year of 2024 – involving the EU, the US, Russia, and India among the others – the challenges impacting political systems and the resilience of democracy are increasingly intertwined with the realms of political communication, the role of the media, and technological development. In the World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2023-2024, which drew on the insights of about 1500 experts, misinformation and disinformation emerge as the most severe global risk expected to escalate over the next two years, fueling social and political polarisation. Meanwhile, the rapid evolution of technology and the spread of AI are broadening the frontiers of the mediatization and digitization of politics. The use of big data, algorithms and microtargeting provide new tools for the running of election campaigns, raising numerous questions about the scope for manipulation and the integrity of the electoral process. In a broader sense, these trends fuel reflection on the consequences of the digital revolution on the political sphere and political representation.
This section invites panels that deal with the topic of political communication in its different domains, relying on a plurality of theoretical approaches and empirical methods.
We welcome contributions that provide reflections in the more traditional fields of research, as well as contributions that take into account the new phenomena of fragmentation, decentralization, and dis/re-intermediation of political communication at the local, national, and international levels.
Proposed panels are expected to fall within the following research areas:

– public and institutional communication;
– electoral communication and campaign management;
– data-driven campaigning and microtargeting;
– the media and political participation;
– digital media and new forms of political action;
– the effects of the media on citizens and public opinion;
– the link between political systems and the media;
– the relationship between politics and journalism;
– disintermediation and re-intermediation;
– the globalization of political communication;
– political communication and digital technologies in international relations and conflicts;
– international migration and its narrative(s);
– political communication and scientific communication (in the context of health crises);
– the role of platforms and social networks;
– methods and techniques of data collection and processing in communication studies;
– rhetoric and narratives of politics;
– the personalization of politics and political leadership;
– digital parties;
– popularization of politics and celebrity politics;
– mis-information, disinformation and fake news;
– political incivility and hate speech;
– populist communication and media logic(s);
– political polarization and the media;
– digital media governance;
– the opportunities and challenges posed by the evolution of artificial intelligence;
– the challenges of the ‘platform society’;
– digital constitutionalism;
– political communication and the transformation of democracy (and representation). The section is also open to consider proposals on additional topics related to the field of political communication.

Panels may include contributions either with a theoretical perspective or empirical analysis. Methodologically, both qualitative and quantitative research approaches as well as contributions based on mixed-methods research designs are welcomed. In addition, panel proposals that present a comparative perspective are particularly encouraged. Panels and papers may be in Italian or (fully or partly) in English.

Coordinators: Massimiliano Andretta, Alberto Bitonti, Giuliana Sorci

The section welcomes and invites panel proposals about the transformations that have affected social movements, grassroots political participation, interest groups politics, lobbying and advocacy in recent years.
With the advent of emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine and Palestine, a crisis of conventional forms of political participation and representative democracy has been spreading, together with a general growth of grassroots political participation. New waves of mobilizations against the politics of containment of the pandemic did spread both in Europe and beyond, transforming the global squares into protest arenas for social movements. These mobilizations featured both the emergence and re-emergence of various kinds of old and new collective actors: with a new protagonism by anti-gender and anti-progressive movements – like those being present in some Eastern European countries (Poland and Hungary), who support the limitations to abortion rights and women reproductive rights (greatly weakening their self-determination) and of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, that becomes a target of discriminatory politics by nationalist and reactionary governments. Movements against Covid certification and vaccines have thrived upon the transversal participation of right- and left-wing social movements, and of parties and movements of clearly populist character. Environmental justice movements poured into the global squares against climate change, sparking policy battles between different types of interest groups; the trans-feminist movements organized mobilizations against gender violence suffered by women on a transnational scale, and various labour conflicts kept surfacing in the political agenda at different levels.
New mobilizations and transformations of forms of collective action within new repertoires, identities, and solidarities emerged – also linked to digital media and social networking platforms, allowing movements and interest groups to organize and spread their claims. At the same time, there are also forms of polarization from below (e.g., about vaccines, hate speech, conspiracy theories, fake news, and disinformation). Resort to social networking platforms by activists and citizens also resulted in the dissemination of conspiracy theories and fake news about the causes of the origin of the pandemic, the production of vaccines, and the war in Ukraine and Palestine becoming viral on social networks. While policymakers often react with “emergency measures” to crises, social movements refuse the emergency narrative proposed by power holders, recalling the structural nature of such crises, and trying to overturn the perception of the irreversibility of the events. Thus, while social movements defend rights that are perceived as at risk, they also suggest other possible solutions and narratives, building networks based on mutual trust and solidarity. Current times are characterized by the effects of the Covid-19 period, the war, the spread of illiberal governments, climate change, and the socio-economic crisis. These are all circumstances that affect policy and politics, but they are also struggle fields and opportunities for progressive social movements and counter-movements, as well as for a multitude of interest groups of different kinds (corporate players, labour unions, professional associations, environmentalist organizations and public interest groups, religious groups, etc.), operating at local, national, and international levels.
The section calls for the presentation of panels covering these themes, starting from empirical research reflecting the adequacy of theoretical and methodological tools that were used until now to analyze, understand, and explain these processes. Contributes featuring a comparative analysis approach and special attention to methodology, with mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approaches, will be well received.
This section aims to host panels discussing the relationship between social movements, interest groups, and traditional political actors (e.g., political parties), analyzing the processes involved across different stages of the policy and influence-production cycles, in mobilization (looking at the role of organization, violence, fundraising, as well as digital technologies in local, national and transnational mobilizations), lobbying and advocacy (targeting policymakers as well as the larger public opinion), political access, and outcomes in terms of influence and policy.

Panels are welcome, regarding:
Local and transnational movements, spreading of protest
Interest groups politics, advocacy and lobbying
Environmental and urban mobilization
Labour Conflicts and social movements
New and ‘old’ movements and interest groups
Gender-related movements, anti-gender themes and feminism
Movements and interest groups turning into parties
The “game” of influence in specific policy processes
Methodological and conceptual challenges in studying movements, interest groups, collective action, and influence
Political participation and new forms of digital activism
Emotions and social movements
Arts, politics and movements
Prefigurative politics and movements
Communication strategies of movements and interest groups
Corporate political activities
Lobbying regulation


Coordinatori: Marco Di Giulio, Renata Lizzi, Laura Polverari

The section hosts panels on the factors and conditions that favor or inhibit innovation and learning in democracies in times of turbulence. The invitation is to deal with transversal issues that can be addressed from multiple perspectives and dimensions: reforms, the public-private relationship, science and new technologies, evaluation, human rights, the role of experts, big data, social and environmental sustainability.
In an era of global change, such as the climate crisis, the pandemic emergency linked to the spread of Covid-19, and the transformation of the balance of power at the international level, the ability to plan, effectively implement, and evaluate the impact of policies and services on beneficiaries will be an important yardstick of public intervention in the coming years.
In this vein, the section calls for panels tackling the complex challenges that governments and communities at various levels – local, national, and supranational – face through the Next Generation EU framework. How can government policies and administrations provide credible answers to new programming and investment opportunities?
Identifying and testing innovative solutions implementing and evaluating their effectiveness regarding old and new problems and needs is now the challenge to measure the success and failure of policies. Moreover, government action’s not always positive impacts suggest considering the potential and limits of new ideas, tools, strategies, governance systems, and new forms of citizen involvement in decision-making processes. In this sense, transversality, coordination, and policy coherence represent new theoretical and methodological challenges.
The section invites proposals of panels, workshops, and round tables on topics that, although traditional, can be treated with innovative techniques and points of view. It also invites the
community to reflect on continuity and innovation within the public policy analysis field itself. It invites proponents to reflect on the significant challenges posed, for example, by big data and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and on the stimuli coming from new approaches, such as the behavioral public policy and the experimental approach to public administration that enrich more consolidated methods and paradigms. Lastly, proposals would also be welcome that relate to: (i) the implementation of devolved policies in a framework of (potential) differentiated autonomy (law decree 1 February 2023); (ii) the digitalization of the public sector and of public policies (e.g. e- health); (iii) administrative capacity building, recruiting and career development of PA staff, also in the light of crisis management, foresight and risk management; (iv) the future directions of public policy and public administration research, and the theories of policy and public administration change, and theory development. Papers that couch the Italian case in wider comparative analyses will be particularly welcome. While paper and panel proposals will be received in both Italian and English, efforts will be paid to organize at least one panel in the English language to attract scholars from abroad.

Coordinatori: Emidio Diodato, Sonia Lucarelli

The IR section of the 2024 SISP conference aims particularly at exploring the concept of liminality in international politics. Liminality (from the Latin līmen, “a threshold”) in anthropology is the condition of ambiguity or disorientation experienced by individuals or groups in the midst of a rite of passage. In other words, the concept captures the moment of transition between the status quo ante and status ex-post. The current international environment seems to be precisely in this moment of transition from a known ex-ante state to an unclear ex-post. This is the condition of interregnum, when the old is dying, the new cannot be born, and a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. This exceptionally long transitional moment is manyfold. Shifting cognitive, geographic, normative and ideational borders are probably the most clear manifestation of such liminality.

The section welcomes panels addressing different aspects of liminality as moments of transition towards an undefined destination, as well as debate and contestation in the liminal space. Hence, the section welcomes panels that tackle the theoretical and/or empirical aspects of the overall topic. Examples could include panels on New, post and post-post colonialism in the West’s foreign policy; Shifting borders and identities in specific areas; The geopoliticization of the EU; Liberal norms and their contestants; The implication of the nonlinear dynamical system of technological transformation of international politics.

Coordinators: Silvia Bolgherini, Bruno Marino, Fulvio Venturino

This section aims to include panels and papers focusing on the three areas corresponding to the interests of the Standing Group “Parties, Public Opinion, and Elections” and the Standing Group “Candidate and Leader Selection”.
Prospective panels and papers may revolve around local, national and supranational elections, be theoretically and/or empirically oriented, adopt quantitative methods (for instance by analyzing survey or aggregate data) as well as qualitative methods, focus on case studies or have a more comparative perspective.
The following (non-exhaustive) list suggests some possible topics for contributions to the section’s activities.
1. Political Parties
A first approach focuses on party systems and on parties as organizations. The former topic includes the analysis of format, (de)institutionalization, level of polarization, and electoral volatility. The latter entails the examination of party models, party membership, and intraparty democracy (candidate selection, leader selection, intra-party ballots).
A second, more recent, approach pays attention to candidates and party leaders as (more or less) powerful actors in elections, parties, and institutions (i.e., parliaments or governments, also in connection with the area of research of the personalization of politics).
A third approach focuses on parties as central actors in general elections (e.g., regarding electoral supply or coalition-building strategies) but also in parliaments and governments (i.e, party elites in parliaments and cabinets, MPs’ and ministers’ careers patterns, different patterns of representation, institutional and decisional processes).
2. Public opinion
We welcome contributions related to different topics. First of all, the study public opinion’ s attitudes towards political issues, public policies, both in electoral and non-electoral times. Second, the causes and consequences of a possible increase in ideological or affective polarization among different groups of citizens.
3. Elections
We are particularly interested in a series of topics related to elections in both democratic and hybrid regimes; electoral campaigns and electoral systems, in connection with candidates’ and parties’ behavior and performance; negative campaigning and its consequences for affective polarization; voting behavior at any territorial level.

Coordinators: Giorgia Nesti, Stefania Ravazzi

The Section ‘Federalism, Regional and Local Studies’ promotes the research and analysis on the topics of sub-national politics, center-periphery relations, and local and regional public policies with the aim to stimulate the debate among scholars but also between academics and practitioners on the role of local communities and actors in solving complex political and policy challenges.
Local contexts are at the intersection of complex dynamics that merit to be deeply investigated from a political science perspective. Indeed, the 2008 economic crisis, climate change, ageing population, growing economic and social inequalities, and health emergencies, natural disasters, the refugee crisis, and technological development have posed new and pressing challenges to sub-national governments.
The European Union is performing an increasing relevant role in defining the local agenda both at the regional and at the urban level. Regional policy still represents the EU’s main investment policy targeted to overcome territorial disparities through Cohesion policies. But the Commission is also promoting several initiatives to cope with new problems such as efficient use of resources, the green and digital transition that may exacerbate existing inequalities and produce new ones. Cohesion policy aspires to help European regions and cities solve these problems, but it also calls them to adopt a placed-based approach fostering integrated territorial development, partnerships, and investments, and enhancing complementarities among other EU policies.
Moreover, the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), with its huge investments in several policy sectors, requires every level of the Italian public administration to be able to manage funding and interventions effectively, efficiently and transparently.
Regional and local authorities are, therefore, called to put in place collaborative arrangements between public administration and profit and non-profit actors, integrated policy approaches, and coordination processes between institutional levels, that require strategic administrative capacities which are in some respect underdeveloped in Italy.
Regions and Municipalities are also the primary locus of political participation. In Italy electoral turnout has been high for decades but the recent elections in the regions Lombardy and Lazio saw a dramatic increase in abstentionism. And many commentators are wondering if this result is ushering a new season of distrust in traditional parties and in local governance. In the meanwhile, other forms of participation at the local level, like for instance volunteerism and civic associationism, are consolidating and new ones linked, for instance, to consumption, like solidarity purchasing groups or energy communities, are emerging.
Finally, an interesting topic in Italy in the academic debate about local politics is the re-launch of the debate on differentiated autonomy is going to raise a sharp debate about solidarity among territories, reallocation of competences and powers among institutional levels and related potential conflicts, administrative capacities, and citizens’ rights.
Against this backdrop, a deep knowledge of local political dynamics, policy processes, actors’ relationships, and policy tools are particularly urgent, for both policy-makers and academics, in order to solve present and future complex challenges.
The Section invites proposals for panels and round tables, in Italian and English, that address issues related to local politics, local policies and local governance, in a national and/or comparative perspective, adopting a theoretical or a qualitative and/or a quantitative empirical approach.
A list of possible – but not exhaustive – research topics is the following:

The study of single or comparative case studies of policymaking in urban policy areas – such as environmental sustainability, housing, mobility, care, education, commerce, tourism, etc. – in their substantive components: agenda-setting, formulation, implementation analysis, and impact assessment.
The analysis of emerging policy problems at the local level, of their potential impact on local communities, the challenges they pose to local policymakers, and the solution adopted to cope with them by local actors.
The analysis of urban policies from a multi-level governance perspective with a particular focus on the type of relationships that could emerge among different institutional actors and the threats and opportunities engendered by multi-level settings.
The study of policy-design and the description and analysis of policy tools adopted by local policy-makers to implement urban policies aimed at addressing complex social, economic, and environmental challenges.
The analysis of new urban challenges and related policy solutions and governance strategies
Innovation in local policy-making processes and the adoption of innovative and experimental approaches to policy formulation and implementation, including devices and processes of policy and services co-design and co-production among different actors, creative conflict management processes and deliberative practices.
The development of crisis governance from a multi-level and decentralized perspective in urban policy areas, the role of local policy actors and political leaders in crisis management and in prevention and recovery policies.
Local institutional reforms, from processes of territorial rescaling and reorganization of peripheral units in various public administration sectors (e.g. health, education, local public services) to local government reforms.
The description of mechanisms adopted to select the local political class, the description and analysis of the characteristics of the elected politicians, the analysis of the outcomes of electoral competitions, of party dynamics emerging between the local and the national level, of vote behavior at the local level, the description and analysis of council formation processes.
The debate about differentiated autonomy and its potential impacts on the redistribution of competences between Regions and Municipalities, on institutional capacities, and on national cohesion.
The intersection of processes of federalism, regionalism, independentism, with the emergence of sovereignist parties and their impact on electoral dynamics at the local level.
The study of political participatory dynamics at the local level with particular reference to membership in regional parties, adhesion to social movements, civic activism, volunteerism, and associationism.
The analysis of local public administration characteristics and administrative capacities, and their appropriateness to cope with old and new policy problems, to manage multi-level policies, and to implement NRRP interventions.

Coordinatori: Alessia Damonte, Federica Genovese

The SISP Section on Methods for Political Science is home to proposals delving into any aspect of empirical methodology. It welcomes submissions about issues in, and applications of, concept analysis, measurement, computational techniques, modeling, research design, causal inference, and theory development and testing. Applications can discuss either single- or multi-method strategies in any substantive subfield of political science and cognate disciplines. Proposals that improve the dialogue among frequentist, logical, Bayesian, or radically subjectivist approaches to empirical knowledge are encouraged.
The Section also welcomes discussions on replicability, Open Science and the FAIRification of political data, and teaching methods for political scientists. Besides, proposals that address the Conference theme, and proposals with ties to other Sections are especially welcome. The Section will consider proposals for individual papers and posters as well as complete panels, roundtables, and open workshops.

Coordinators:  Edoardo Bressanelli, Igor Guardiancich, Sorina Cristina Soare

Scholars have described the period that began in the second half of 2008 – when the economic and financial crisis hit the EU – as the “polycrisis” or “permacrisis” of the Union. Starting with the Eurocrisis, moving on with the migration and refugee crisis, the long-process of withdrawal of the UK leading to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new conflicts in its neighbourhood, the EU has been confronted with a dramatic string of unprecedented events. While the EU has managed to navigate through the storm, the crises have fuelled support for anti-EU and populist parties, contesting the EU and its policies sometimes from the highest executive office in some Member states.
The ongoing five-year cycle, initiated in 2019, represents a crucial juncture for the European Union, characterized notably by the absence of an absolute majority between the center-right (embodied by the European People’s Party) and the center-left (the Socialists and Democrats) in the European Parliament. As this cycle approaches its culmination, the EU is gearing up for the renewal of its Parliament in June 2024 and the subsequent selection of a new President of the Commission. The upcoming elections to appoint the next European Parliament, along with nine other parliamentary elections across European countries, are anticipated to witness the relative decline of mainstream parties and the emergence of various challengers in 2024. Moreover, the ongoing conflicts on the EU’s doorstep and the 2024 US presidential elections are expected to exert significant influence on the trajectory of the European project. It is worth noting that these elections are likely to be influenced by the threat of online disinformation and the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in shaping political discourse and electoral outcomes.
Despite these serious, we could call them ‘quasi-existential’ setbacks, it has to be, however, stressed that the mistakes that had been made in the aftermath of the sovereign debt crisis – for example the rushed endorsement of the doctrine dubbed “expansive austerity” – and which have done so much harm by alienating voters and governments, thereby fundamentally shaking the foundations of the European project of shared prosperity, have not been fortunately repeated. Above and beyond the ‘Hamiltonian moment’ represented by the relatively solidaristic answer to the challenges of the pandemic or the recently approved gas price cap in response to Russian threats, a shift away from economic towards social Europe, that had started under the aegis of the Juncker Commission, has continued unabated under the Von der Leyen Presidency.
If a list of the market-correcting policies supplanting market-making ones is beyond the scope of this summary, as they range from ecological measures such as the European Green Deal to regulatory breakthroughs such as the Digital Markets Act, just a brief look at the social policy domain indicates that a number of initiatives have been pushed forward or are being debated that would have been inconceivable just five years earlier. Planned or definitive legislative acts, such as the Minimum Wage Directive, the Platform Work Directive, the setup of Individual Learning Accounts represent paradigmatic changes in the conception of what a European social model signifies and may influence its design and operation for decades to come. It is in the light of these contrasting developments that the ninth legislative period of the European Parliament needs to be assed.
The main goal of this Section is that of analysing, interpreting and explaining, from a variety of angles and using different methodologies, the challenges impacting upon and the ensuing changes on the EU political system, both at the supranational level and in a multi-level governance perspective. The analytical focus is placed on the EU institutions, actors and public policies. In an illustrative fashion, the Section welcomes contributions exploring:
– the validity of theories of EU integration to explain the more recent changes in the EU political system;
– the assessment of the Europeanisation of the member states, particularly but not only Italy;
– intra-institutional dynamics, such as the reforms adopted by the European Parliament to tackle corruption and limit foreign interferences;
– inter-institutional dynamics and power-relationships between the European Council, the Council of the EU, the Commission and the EP;
– the run-up to the 2024 EP elections and the reform of the electoral law, the Spitzenkandidaten process and policies to protect the integrity of elections;
– the results and consequences of the 2024 EP elections;
– the narratives about the EU in the media and in the public sphere;
– the current fractures between economic and social Europe and between market-making and market-correcting measures;
– the latest developments in the most salient policy fields, such as the labour market, social security and protection, energy capacity, environmental preservation, digitalization and its regulation (the EU Chips Act; the Data Act /Data Governance Act, the eIDAS Regulation, the eIDs, etc.);
– the implementation of the National Resilience and Recovery Plans;
– the tensions between the green transition and the need for energy security;
– the stepping up of security and defence coordination.
– the EU enlargement agenda (Eastern and Southeastern perspectives).

Coordinators: Francesca Feo, Massimo Prearo

The study of gender and politics is now a widely established field of research. While in some contexts gender and intersectional perspectives are still struggling to be recognised as legitimate in the field of political science, the last few decades have seen a flourishing of national and international projects, publications and courses that privilege gender and intersectional perspectives in the study and teaching of politics and other areas of public life. The impact of the inclusion of “gender” as an analytical category has been to broaden and deepen the scope of political science, enriching it with new research questions and offering a wide range of tools to rethink old questions and approach them through new theoretical and methodological lenses. Indeed, in the last decade, we have seen an increasing politicization of gender and sexuality issues in the international and national public sphere. In this current conjuncture, the international community of gender, LGBT+ and feminist scholars has clearly argued that a focus on gender and sexuality politics is crucial to understand contemporary challenges to democracy, such us the spread of democratic backsliding, the rise of far right politics and the global increase of economic inequalities, but also the recognition of new rights and the implementation of equality policies. Moving from new to old challenges, there is the need to continue exploring how the intersecting power structures in different representative and political institutions affect the functioning of these institutions and ultimately their political outcomes.

This Section, sponsored by the standing group on “Gender and politics”, aims to actively engage with the international advancements of gender and politics community and invites panels and papers proposal focusing on gender, sexuality and intersectionality in politics, academia and other areas of public life. The possible topics include, but are not limited to:

– Methodological innovations for the study of gender, sexuality and intersectionality
– Power, (political) representation and intersectionality
– Gender and intersectional perspectives on political and representative institutions
– Gender (in)equalities and public policy
– LGBTI+ rights, sexuality and queer policies and politics
– Gender, communication and public discourses (online and offline)
– Social movements, activism and dynamics of politicization of issues related to gender and sexuality
– Gender-based violence
– Feminism and democracy
– Gender, intersectionality and sexuality in Higher Education and in political science
– Gender and feminist perspectives in International Relations

To promote an interdisciplinary approach, The Section encourages contact and cooperation with scholars from related fields.

Coordinators: Chiara Maritato, Susanna Pagiotti, Francesco Strazzari

Religion animates lively debates in different political regimes all over the world. The increased uncertainty resulting from new and old wars, populist drives and renewed ethical debates, reinvigorated the discussion on identity politics, violence and the role played by religion within the public sphere. Moreover, the instrumental use of religious symbols and discourses by political actors emerges in conflicts over the meanings of secularism and secularization.
Attention is therefore drawn to two main facets of this phenomenon, the measures of religious actors actively intervening in the public sphere, and the continuum of uses enacted by non-religious actors to achieve a multiplicity of different material and symbolic purposes, made even more visible in the “platform society”.
Based on this background, the section aims to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion on the role and meanings of religion within the transformation of contemporary political systems with an international and comparative perspective. Within this broad framework, the section therefore encourages proposals for panels and papers useful for investigating and problematizing the relationship between religion, politics and conflicts by addressing one or more research topics from the following non-exhaustive list:
– Public role of religions
– Use of religious symbols/discourses in politics
– Religion, politics and marketing
– Religion and populism
– Churches and political parties
– Religion and (social) media
– Religion and gender
– Religious pluralism
– Religion, rights and freedoms
– Religion and education
– Transnational religious movements
– Religion and international politics
– Religious mobilization and authority between war and peace
– Religious extremism, radicalization and de-radicalization
The Section, promoted by the SISP Standing Group Politics and Religion, fosters interactions and collaborations with scholars from different disciplines, in the logic of an interdisciplinary approach to the topic and contaminations between disciplines.
Panels and papers may be in Italian or in English. Panels may include contributions either with a theoretical perspective or empirical analysis. Methodologically, both qualitative and quantitative research approaches as well as contributions based on mixed-methods research designs are welcomed. In addition, panel proposals that present a comparative perspective are particularly encouraged.

Coordinators: Giuseppe Ieraci and Federico Donelli

In a global (dis)order characterized by instability, rapid change, and the proliferation of democratic backsliding, the intersection of political science, international relations, and area studies becomes crucial to better understand world dynamics. Without giving exclusive weight to any particular perspective, approach, or regional context, the section seeks to encourage discussion of outstanding political phenomena such as democratic regression, the rise of autocracies, leadership diplomacy, and global competition in the international arena. It also seeks to examine how these trends relate to the changing international order. Is it the rise of non-democratic states that is generating instability within the international order, or are systemic transformations fostering the emergence of non-democratic systems? How can area studies offer an understanding of these phenomena? These are just two of the questions the panels and papers will have to try to answer.
Panel discussions will be convened to explore the complex interactions between changes in the international order, economic transformations, the effects of climate change, and the erosion of democratic norms. Using examples of democratic backsliding in different regions, it underscores the importance of interdisciplinary approaches in addressing global instability.
Within this broad framework, the section therefore encourages proposals for panels and papers that are useful for exploring and problematizing the relationship between democratic backsliding and international politics by addressing one or more research topics from the following non-exhaustive and broader list:
– Democratic regression
– Conflict and post-conflict
– Foreign policy
– Liberal and Illiberal Peacekeeping
– Leadership diplomacy
– Autocracy promotion
– Human Rights
– The nexus between domestic, sub-regional, regional and international levels
– Regional security
– Climate change & Conflicts
– Global & post-colonial IR
– Area Studies (Middle East, Africa, Balkans, Central Asia, Asia, Latin America)
Panels and papers may be presented in Italian or English. Panels may include contributions with either a theoretical perspective or an empirical analysis. Methodologically, both qualitative and quantitative research approaches are welcome, as well as papers based on mixed methods research designs. In addition, panel proposals that present a comparative perspective are particularly encouraged.