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Conference 2022

8-10 September 2022

 SISP 2022: Sections

The next SISP Conference has 14 Sections:

10 ordinary Sections directly related to some of SISP Standing Groups;

4 ‘Jolly Sections’ selected by the SISP Steering Committee on the basis of a specific call.

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

Chairs: Andrea Cassani and Luca Tomini

This section welcomes panels aimed to investigate the institutional changes that both consolidated democracies, autocracies and hybrid regimes have recently experienced (or are experiencing) in different world regions. Within this broad framework, the following is a non-exhaustive list of research topics, as a base for panel proposals:
– The comparative study of democratic and non-democratic regimes, with a focus on both institutions, public policies, and socio-economic performance;
– The analysis of (various phases of the) processes of regime change, including democratization, autocratization and other transitions;
– 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.

Chairs: Federico Russo and Andrea Pedrazzani

Contemporary representative democracies are often conceptualized 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 this 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 members of parliament (MPs), the political career of representatives, the behaviour of parliamentarians, the internal organization of parliaments, issue-politics in parliament, the legislative process, executive-legislative relations, executive politics and non-electoral forms of representation. Panels on the consequences of the various crises – economic, migration, health crises – that have impacted on European 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 MPs
Political representation is a particularly complex and multifaceted concept, as politicians can connect to citizens in many ways. Elected MPs represent their voters not only through constituency work and the provision of resources for the district, but also by behaving in a manner responsive 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 representatives is an especially promising avenue 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 parliamentarians and holders of executive posts in local, regional, national and supranational institutions opens new opportunities to study career trajectories within and across different settings.

Legislative behaviour
Two innovations are revitalising the studies concerned with the behaviour of legislators: on the one hand, new data on legislative and non-legislative activities and methodological advances have opened virtually unlimited possibilities for eager analysts; on the other hand, there is a lively debate on the factors influencing legislative behaviour. 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 interact.

Internal organization of parliaments
The study of the internal organization 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: 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 bicameralism.

Issue-politics in parliament
According to the issue-competition literature, political parties compete by 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 investiture speeches has become one of the most promising way to observe 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 allows scholars to investigate several topics in this subfield 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 to 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 crisis such as the Great Recession, the European migration crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first two have changed the content of political competition and increased polarization, the last 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.

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 emphasized 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.

Chairs: Rossana Sampugnaro and Giuliano Bobba

The section encourages the submission of panels dealing with political communication in its multiple aspects, using a variety of methods and theoretical approaches.
Political communication is constantly evolving and is intertwined with the dynamics and crisis of representative democracy. Contributions focusing on the more traditional fields of investigation, as well as on the new phenomena of fragmentation, decentralization and dis/re-intermediation of political communication at local, national and international level are therefore welcome.
The proposed panels should be related to the following areas of investigation and research:

public and institutional communication;
electoral communication;
the media and political participation;
the globalization of political communication;
the effects of the media on citizens and public opinion;
the link between political systems and the media;
the relationship between politics and journalism;
the role of social networks;
methods and techniques of data collection and processing;
the rhetoric and narratives of politics;
the personalization of politics; the popularization of politics;
digital media and new forms of political action;
disinformation and fake news;
political incivility and hate speech;
digital media governance;
the challenges of the ‘platform society’;
digital constitutionalism.

The section is also willing to consider proposals on additional topics related to the field of political communication.
Panels can present both theoretical and empirical contributions. From a methodological point of view, both qualitative and quantitative research approaches are welcome, as well as contributions based on mixed-methods research designs. Panel proposals presenting a comparative perspective are particularly welcome.

Chairs: Manuela Caiani and Giuliana Sorci

The section welcomes and invites panel proposals about the transformations that affect social movements and grassroots political participation in recent years, with specific (but not exclusive) attention to the pandemic crisis. Protests being linked to climate, coronavirus, gender, social inclusion (and exclusion). Concurrently with the economic crisis linked to the pandemic, a crisis of conventional forms of political participation unfolded, too; producing both a general resizing of space of political action for more traditional actors, like parties, and a democratic deficit due to the continued use of emergency laws that (actually) overturned the role of parliaments in Western democracies. In a scenario of a (semi-)permanent state of emergency, the growth of a demand of grassroots political participation was accompanied by a crisis of representative democracy.
New waves of mobilizations against the politics of containment of the pandemic did spread both in Europe and beyond it, transforming the global squares in protest arenas for social movements. These new insurgencies 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 that thrive upon the transversal participation of right- and left-wing social movements fringes, and of parties and movements of clearly populist character. But also environmental justice movements pouring into the global squares against climate change; the trans-feminist movements that launched mobilizations against gender violence suffered by women on a transnational scale.
New mobilizations and new transformations of forms of collective action, and new repertoires, identities, solidarities emerged – also linked to the use of digital media and social networking platforms, that allowed movements to organize and spread their claims, in a scenario of restrictions and measures of social distancing. At the same time, also forms of polarization from below (e.g., pertaining to vaccines, hate speech, conspiracy theories and fake news). Resort to social networking platforms by activists and citizens, that also resulted in proliferation of conspiracy theories and fake news about the causes of the origin of the pandemic and on the production of vaccines, that became viral on social networks. The panels within this section will cover all this.
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 analyse, understand and explain these processes. Contributes featuring a comparative analysis approach and a special attention to methodology, with mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approaches, will be well received.
This section aims to host panels with the goal of discussing the relation between social movements and traditional political actors (e.g., political parties, unions, associations), left- and right-wing social movements, the role of violence in political mobilizations, as well as the role of digital technologies in local, national and transnational mobilizations, and the social movements’ outcomes.

Panels are welcome, regarding:

  • Local and transnational movements, spreading of protest
  • Environmental and urban mobilization
  • New and ‘old’ movements
  • Movement-parties
  • Methodological and conceptual challenges in studying movements and collective action in times of crisis
  • Gender-related movements, anti-gender themes and feminism
  • Political participation between real and virtual
  • Arts, politics and movements
  • Prefigurative politics and movements
  • Outcomes of social movements

Chairs: Maria Stella Righettini and Marco Di Giulio

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 you to propose panels, workshops, and round tables on topics that, although traditional, can be treated with innovative techniques and points of view. Finally, the section invites the community to reflect on continuity and innovation within the public policy analysis field itself. Invites to reflect on significant challenges posed, for example, by big data and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and to 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.

Chairs: Carla Monteleone and Emidio Diodato

The section aims at taking stock and enriching knowledge regarding the transformation of the global political system and invites panels and papers that explore from a theoretical perspective and/or with empirical analyses this transformation, looking at continuities and changes in and of the global political system and their implications.
The section particularly welcomes panels and papers debating continuities and changes in: – the structure of the international system and dynamics of change, including the rise of new cleavages, worldwide processes and de-globalization, and regional dynamics and fragmentations; – global problems and policies, with particular – but not exclusive – attention to migration, the environment, transnational organized crime, development cooperation, human rights and peace operations;– organizational institutions, including their reform, the rise of multilateral solutions and the growth of competing regional alternatives; – actors, with attention to the rise of non-state actors and the reaction of states, but also to the interplay between domestic political systems and the international political system; – roles, status, and identities, notably of traditional and rising powers, but also of middle powers; – norms, rules, practices, the role of alliances, ideologies and religion; – foreign policy, diplomacy, regional and area studies; – armed conflicts, use of force and security cultures, coalitions, and military alliances.
The section will also welcome panels and papers dealing with theoretical and methodological challenges in the study of change in IR, with attention to concepts such as anarchy, power, sovereignty, security, authority, legitimacy, and trust.

Chairs: Antonella Seddone and Fulvio Venturino

Contemporary democracies are under stress. The legitimacy of political elites and political institutions has been undermined by growing popular distrust and dissatisfaction, questioning the very principle of political representation. Although public opinion criticisms tend to target all elites and institutions, political parties are framed as the main culprit and are blamed for their inability to meet citizens’ demands. Thus, they are no longer recognized as mediators in the relationship between citizens and politics and as instruments of political participation.
We are witnessing a decrease in traditional loyalties and a growing electoral volatility, which seems to prompt the de-institutionalization of the party systems. This not only means that electoral outcomes are increasingly unpredictable, but also that patterns of government are uncertain and unstable. Parties struggle both to aggregate societal demands and to enact effective policies when in government, with profound implications for political support and responsiveness.
Party dis-intermediation has opened up a ‘representation vacuum’, boosting up new political actors promoting populist and antiparty claims. Moreover, the direct involvement of citizens in the decision-making processes is vocally requested. New digital media have provided novel means for citizens to express their demands, offering spaces for direct and continuous interaction between leaders and citizens.
Political leaders have also taken advantage of such opportunities, overtly exploiting new media. Yet, by prioritizing personalization dynamics, these processes could become detrimental to the collective dimension of political parties, increasingly perceived as obsolete and ineffective organizations, lacking authority in front of supranational economic-financial forces. The role played by the European Union has often reinforced this view.
It would be misleading to interpret these phenomena merely as transient consequences driven by the globalization or by economic crises. Instead, they should be read as the result of a long-term process, whose effects (and causes) are more systemic and structural than it would appear.
In this context, the COVID19 pandemic was a game changer, but problems are still there. New questions of a political nature have arisen, and they are demanding for representation. New policy priorities have emerged, and for political parties new opportunities (and challenges) have opened up: providing the conditions for new political alliances and sometimes for ideological (re)alignments. Likewise, the very nature of party organization is put under question in order to identify novel and more effective means for connect with members and sympathizers. In this phase of redefinition, it is even more essential to approach the study of the relationship between citizens and politics from original perspectives.
Against this background, this section addresses issues related to electoral behaviour and public opinion from different perspectives.

The relationship between citizens and politics
* Issue and leader voting, considering (a) the role of short-term factors in the vote choices, in contrast to (b) long-term factors such as social ties and political allegiances.
* The role of social media and ICTs understood as (a) communication arenas for parties and leaders; (b) new environments for interaction and construction of citizens’ opinions; (c) new arenas for political participation.
* The populist movements/parties and the citizens’ populist attitudes, clarifying (a) the systemic conditions that favour the success of populism; (b) the individual determinants of the support for populist parties; (c) citizens’ support for populist issues and dynamics of issue ownership.
* Euroscepticism and the changing attitudes of public opinion towards Europe, discussing (a) the role played by EU in defining domestic agenda; (b) parties’ and leaders’ strategies; (c) citizens opinions; (b) dynamics of politicization.
* The role of opinion polls in defining (a) parties’ and leaders’ strategies; (b) citizens’ voting behaviour, taking into account problems affecting the detection of citizens’ opinions; (c) new methods and tools for investigating citizens’ opinions.

Electoral rules, election campaigns and elections
* Election management, meant as the set of actions and practices related to the organization of elections (included procedural and logistic aspects).
* The politics of electoral system, identifying (a) the strategic incentives determining intra-party and inter-party competitive dynamics; (b) the candidates’ strategies; (c) the implications for the results of elections.
* The election campaigns, considering (a) the role played by new and mainstream media; (b) the visibility and tonality of leaders in media coverage and its potential impact on voting behaviour and leader evaluations.
* Methods of candidates’ and leaders’ selection and their consequences (a) at party level (intra-party conflict, personalization); (b) at parliamentary level (parliamentary cohesion, responsiveness); (c) on representation (characteristics of selected elites and potential renewal).
* Beyond voting behaviour, understanding the determinants of abstention.
* Voting dynamics and results of the regional and local elections.
* Economic voting, including (a) government approval and the electoral cycle; (b) the effects of the economic crisis on citizens’ electoral choice; (c) economically motivated parties’ reward and punishment.

Party organizations and their changes
*Digital technologies and political parties, with emphasis on patterns of organizational transformations
* Party disintermediation and the organizational changes boosting a direct relationship between leaders and voters.
* Ideological change, by investigating (a) the relevance of left and right categories; (b) populism as a (thin) ideology; (c) policy mood.
* Reform of parties’ public funding and its impact on their organizations.
* Party membership and its changes in term of (a) multispeed membership; (b) intra-party democracy; (c) participation and activism.
* Party elites and the renewal of the political class.
* Personalization of politics and its consequences for party politics.

The systemic effects of elections and election results:
* Local elections, with reference to the 2022 and 2021 election round, with regard to the competition between candidates and coalitions (and local experimentation) and the ongoing transformation in the territorial settlement of parties
* Referenda: processes and results
– The election of the President of the Republic
– Coalitional strategies and competitive dynamics within coalitions
– The redefinition of policy platforms in times of pandemic crisis: valence issues and position issues

The suggested lines of research are merely indicative. Alternative proposals are equally welcomed. Comparative as well as single-case studies are also welcome, emphasizing that all proposals must be anchored to solid methodological and theoretical perspectives.
Panels & Papers can be submitted in English or Italian.

Chairs: Mattia Casula and Giorgia Nesti

This Section aims to promote the research and analysis on sub-national politics, center-periphery relations, and local and regional public policies, which represent topics of particular relevance within the international political science community, especially in the last decade.
The 2008 economic crisis, the problems linked to climate change and population ageing, the growth of economic and social inequalities, as well as the increased citizens’ distrust of politics, have in fact posed new and pressing challenges to sub-national governments. These challenges have been further exacerbated by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The latter has in fact had a violent economic impact on business, trade and tourism, by putting health, social and educational systems under stress, reinforcing existing inequalities and making some categories of people further vulnerable. In this extremely uncertain context, processes of collaboration and coordination between institutional levels, as well as between public administration and the third sector, have proved to be extremely complex, and have highlighted the fragility of the Italian inter-institutional relationships.
Starting from this scenario, this Section invites the submission of Panel and Round Table proposals, in Italian and in English, addressing the impact of recent crises on local contexts in a national and / or in a comparative perspective, in order to analyze how such multiple crises have modified and are modifying local and regional politics and policies, as well as to discuss future prospects for regions and municipalities in the post-pandemic.
Possible – but not exhaustive – research topics for panels and contributions are:

· The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at the local level: the analysis of the governance of the pandemic in a multilevel perspective in the various policy areas; the role of local political classes and political leaders in managing the pandemic; future perspectives, including the redefinition of local development paradigms and post-Covid-19 recovery challenges;

· Innovation in the definition and management of policies and in the provision of public services: adoption of innovative and experimental approaches for the definition and implementation of sub-national policies; co-production and new ways of providing local services; the use of innovative techniques of public participation and consensus-building; the analysis of empirical cases illustrating opportunities and risks associated with the use of new technologies, artificial intelligence and the so-called “Internet of things” by local administrations;

· The outcomes of the institutional reforms: analysis of the territorial reorganization processes and reorganization of peripheral organizational units in various public sectors (e.g. health, school, justice, local public services), also with a view to inter-sectoral comparison; and, preliminary assessment of their overall ‘resilience’ in the face of the economic crisis and the health emergency;

· Elections and party competition: analysis of the dynamics and the results of electoral competition on a regional and local scale in the most recent administrative elections; analysis of the political offer; relationship between local and national party dynamics; electoral behavior and participation, local identities, autonomist, euro-secessionist and populist instances; characteristics and issues of the electoral campaigns; mechanisms for selecting candidates and building alliances; processes of formation of the councils and characteristics of the elected political class, also with reference to gender representation;

· Multilevel governance: implementation of European policies, implementation of the place-based approach, strengthening of local administrative capacities, above all as concern to Cohesion Policy, smart-specialization, sustainable development policy, climate change mitigation, the implementation of the EU Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in local contexts;

· Urban studies: analysis of urban policies, especially in a comparative perspective, with particular regard to issues such as the environment, public transport, sustainable mobility, reception and integration of migrants and refugees, housing policies, gambling, local welfare, education, the reduction of inequalities and social polarization in urban contexts, urban-rural integration, territorial development and urban planning.

Chairs: Luigi Curini and Vincenzo Memoli

The methodological discourse in political science has long entered a new stage of ferment and autonomous elaboration.
The discipline has matured an increasing interest in designs and models for more credible causal inferences that build on different definitions of causality and ontological assumptions. It has been home to far-reaching debates on the advantages and limits of the experimental (and quasi-experimental) design, and on its feasibility in observational settings. It has promoted innovative usages of different languages for empirical analysis – natural, frequentist, Bayesian, Boolean – to take advantage of their different grasp on political and institutional phenomena. It has developed effective solutions to cope with the challenges from Big Data in political studies.
Against the backdrop of a renewed technical eclecticism, the debates have gained new momentum on the relationship among theories, models, research designs, methods, constructs, credibility standards, and research purposes.

Section 9 encourages the exchange on the problems of theoretical and empirical research on political phenomena and objects, with the aim to foster and circulate adequate solutions.
Its panels draw attention to the reasons beneath the technical and methodological choices of actual research strategies. Their hallmark is their inclusive pluralism, to nourish the rich diversity of political studies.

Section 9 calls for panels that pinpoint issues or discuss solutions of the different elements of the research process – such as but not limited to, theoretical foundations, concept analyses, epistemology, causal ontologies and models, research designs, technical and interpretive choices. It encourages submissions focused on experimental, statistical, configurative, comparative, in-depth, or mixed studies.
Lastly, Section 9 warmly welcomes submissions from Ph.D. candidates and early career researchers and admits promising works to the discussion even if in progress.

Chairs: Mattia Guidi and Edoardo Bressanelli

The European Union has gone through, and is still facing, a prolonged phase of crisis due to the pandemic and its management, with significant economic and policy implications. This is accompanied by further challenges for the process of integration, from that of respecting the EU’s fundamental values – first and foremost, but not exclusively, by member countries such as Hungary and Poland – to that relating to the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU and the (re)-construction of their relationships post-Brexit. The implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans characterizes the attempt of the EU countries to get out of the pandemic phase and relaunch the economy. In this situation, the EU is increasingly present in the public debate, and is being ‘politicized’ by public opinion and by political parties in the member states. Moreover, this takes place in an international context where Russia represents a growing threat to the security of the Union, both directly (e.g., the crisis in Ukraine) and indirectly (e.g., through interferences in the electoral processes of the EU and its member states).

Faced with these fundamental challenges, the EU often finds itself confronted with the different positions of its member states, and the difficulty to make a synthesis. European governance has in fact been engineered to function, structurally, through the practice of consensus; this exposes it to the veto power of the various actors and multiple interests represented in its decision-making process. The EU with 27 members is the culmination of an unprecedented voluntary process of aggregation between states. However, the large expansion of membership, with the inclusion of countries which embrace an increasingly marked opposition to European institutions, has also exposed its internal conflicts. This occurs in the presence of a regulatory framework that significantly binds the ability of the member states to act, delegating to the EU level key decisions in fundamental areas, such as the surveillance of national macroeconomic policies or the disbursement of funds for post-pandemic recovery.

Nationalist and populist parties seek to capitalize on the inefficiencies of the Union’s political system, pushing the latter into the center of national party competition. Euroscepticism is now a very relevant dimension of conflict within national party systems and, in many countries, it has contributed to the emergence and affirmation of anti-system forces. Traditional parties are hit by the shock wave of these antagonistic forces, and they are sometimes divided within themselves between loyalty to Europe and a more critical or openly Eurosceptic line. The general tensions and difficulties of the EU are exacerbated by the climate of mistrust and discontent that the Eurosceptic forces feed, constantly exposing the inefficiencies of the EU decision-making system and the costs of external constraints. However, the EU has also shown considerable resilience and, in managing the pandemic crisis, has managed to take decisions of historic significance, both for the integration process and for the relations between the EU and member states. European institutions have been capable of strategic choices responding to the criticisms of both the electorate and Eurosceptic parties, even if the effects, the success or the limits of these choices have yet to be fully evaluated.

The main objective of this section is to analyze, interpret and explain, under multiple angles and using different methodologies, the impact of crises on European politics (at a supranational level but also from a multi-level perspective) and on the European integration process. Even if the list is not meant to be exhaustive, the section welcomes contributions that explore:

* the explanatory power of the general theories of European integration with respect to the configuration and functioning of the EU, taking into account the developments and impact of the pandemic;
* the functioning of EU governance in its various institutional, process and policy aspects;
* the evolution of relations (and power relations) between the main EU institutions (Commission, Council, Parliament, European Council), in light of the creation of new policy areas for the Union;
* the impact of the EU on politics and policies at national level in today’s scenario of managing and overcoming the pandemic;
* the consequences of the new international context and the difficult relations with the Russian Federation;
* the implementation and the consequences of Brexit for (dis)integration;
* media representations of the EU and their impact on the perception that citizens-voters have of the Union.

Chairs: Pamela Pansardi and Massimo Prearo

In the last twenty years, the strand of political science that focuses on gender issues –internationally termed gender and politics – fully integrated within the discipline and started acquiring its own traits. Accordingly, the gender perspective in political science distinguished itself from the perspectives assumed by adjacent disciplines, such as sociology, political philosophy and economics, although always in dialogue with them.
Studies focusing on the analysis of the relation between gender, sexuality and politics, also in an intersectional perspective, permeate all political science sub-fields, from political theory to comparative politics, from international relations to political communication, yet moving from different epistemological perspectives and by relying on qualitative or quantitative methods.
In this context, the promotion of gender studies within Italian political science becomes essential, on the one hand, to fill a longstanding gap in Italian political science scholarship; on the other, to promote exchanges and relations between Italian and international scholars active in this field of research, and to provide a point of reference for young scholars who choose to enter the field.

The Section invites panels and paper proposals addressing gender, LGBT+ and intersectionality issues from the perspective of political science – while enriching and renewing its scope. The possible topics include, but are not limited to: theory and methods; political representation; parties and elections; public policies; social movements; political communication; social media and technology; local government; international relations; European studies.

Moreover, the Section promotes interactions and collaborations with scholars belonging to disciplines close to political science (political and legal philosophy, political sociology, economics, law, etc.), pursuing the logic of an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of interests and contamination across disciplines.

Chairs: Gabriele Natalizia and Lorenzo Termine

The possession of energy resources, or an easy access to them, is one indicator of States’ “power” and one of the variables that are often useful to explain their rise and decline. The energy price crisis of Winter 2021-2022 has rekindled – as was predictable – the public debate on the profound connection between energy and security, highlighting the fragility of European countries and the ability of the Russian Federation to use its resources as instruments of political pressure. At the same time, however, it also prompted a less “heated” one – at least at the level of public reaction – on the relationship between energy, public policies and social development, highlighting the effects on crucial dimensions such as transport and health.
As often happens, public debate occurred after academia. If the scarcity of resources and the competition that it contributes to trigger/exasperate have made energy a theme traditionally investigated by International Relations, in more recent times it has been placed at the center of scientific reflection also by studies in Comparative Politics. Numerous works have shed light on how excessive dependence in a country’s GDP on the energy sector influences regime changes or their stability. Also, in the studies on political participation and social movements, a new thread of research on energy democracy is developing, as well as on the dilemma and the related strategic choice between fossil fuels and renewable energy. Finally, unlike in the past, energy is gradually making its way into electoral studies and studies on parties due to a series of phenomena – such as global warming or Fridays for future – which have revived the materialism/post-materialism fracture that had already appeared in the West in the final phase of the 20th century.
The “Politics and Energy” Section, therefore, is intended to be transversal to the different fields of Political Science, encouraging the submission of panels animated by different scientific sensibilities, ranging from International Relations to Comparative Politics, passing through Public Policy. It also aims to be an open place for interdisciplinary meetings and to promote dialogue between academia, professionals, public decision makers and all those engaged in the study of the relationship between politics and energy.

Chairs: Marco Di Giulio and Maria Stella Righettini

The intellectual leadership of Bruno Dente, an outstanding scholar of public administration, public policies, and institutions, has influenced the careers of many SISP colleagues. What first intrigued and then fascinated many of us was his approach to studying the state’s and multi-level systems’ functioning, free from dogmatism and capable of moving with surprising agility between different disciplinary approaches to return very innovative theoretical and empirical elaborations. Bruno Dente has devoted a large part of his activity to public management’s renovation, policy evaluation, reform processes, administrative reforms, policy changes starting from public policies and decision-making processes.

Panel 1 – Simona Piattoni – Claudio Radaelli
Empiric Constitutionalism.

Panel 2 – Andrea Lippi and Giliberto Capano
Policy advice and policy processes: Which conditions for a disciplinary impact.

Panel 3 – Simone Busetti, Maria Stella Righettini and Giancarlo Vecchi
Incrementalism and policy innovation. The challenges of the crisis.

Round table: Chairs and discussants: Simone Busetti, Erica Melloni and Giancarlo Vecchi. Usable knowledge and cross-disciplinary research commitment. The unparalleled contribution of B. Dente (or outstanding example).

Panels will accept papers written in Italian and English.


Chairs: Gianluca Passarelli

«Those who know only one country do not know any». The claimed well-known Seymour M. Lipset statement calls for more in-depth and broader political and institutional comparisons. In reality, comparative politics is more than just a methodological issue; it is an ontological pillar of political science. To avoid excessively restricted studies that risk leaving little room for conclusion,
political science must enhance and broaden the area of comparison. The assessment of differences and similarities must transcend beyond the overly provincial and parochial bounds of regional studies, as Almond and Verba emphasized a few decades ago. The global links of today need a comprehensive evaluation of political institutions, constitutions, and their influence on many political disciplines. Furthermore, new methodological and empirical problems are centered on political actors such as political parties, politicians, and voters. Keeping in mind that the “comparison”, a key conceptual instrument of any competent political science study, must be at the heart of such a viewpoint.
The section welcomes works and contributions that emphasize, both theoretically and empirically, the comparative viewpoint. A broad unit of analysis at the core of the panels that will be included in this section correspond to the “sartorian” concepts of parties and party system.
More in detail, the section discusses the similarities and differences, as well as the political engineering of party systems, political institutions, electoral systems, political party functions, political party organizations, electoral participation, and electoral behavior.