14-16 September 2023
Sections – SISP Conference 2023
The next SISP Conference has 14 Sections:
11 ordinary Sections directly related to some of SISP Standing Groups;
3 ‘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 3 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
The Standing Group “Political regimes” of the Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP, Italian Society of Political Science) gathers together researchers who, starting from different perspectives (e.g. comparative politics, 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.
For the 2023 edition of the SISP Conference, 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 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”
Chairs: Diego Giannone and Damiano Palano
The Political Theory 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 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 to political science thus appears to be an essential field, both for its intrinsic heuristic power and for the possibility of fostering fruitful encounters between models and ‘conceptualisations’ 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 encompasses, 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 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.
Chairs: Elisabetta De Giorgi and 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 members of parliament (MPs), the political careers 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, 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 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 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 representatives is an especially promising line of research in light of the crises that have recently hit European democracies.
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 institutional settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chairs: Rossana Sampugnaro and Fabio Bordignon
The section invites panels that deal with the topic of political communication in its different aspects, relying on a plurality of theoretical approaches and empirical methods. The challenges facing political systems on a global scale are never more intertwined with the sphere of communication than at this stage. The increased overlap between media and political logics has long been a characteristic feature of the trajectories of representative regimes, and suggests one of the most fruitful perspectives for examining the tensions within them. The pandemic, the migration crisis, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, have stressed democratic systems further and highlighted even more the problematic nodes of the relationship between information and dis-information. Meanwhile, by grafting on the long-standing dynamics of mediatisation of politics, technological evolution and digitization processes further reshape the new frontiers of political communications studies.
With respect to the Italian case, the 2022 General Elections specifically have challenged political communication scholars with the unusual election campaign, “compressed” in the summer. In consideration of the reported events and transformations, contributions that offer reflections in the more traditional fields of inquiry are welcome, as well as contributions that account for 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 be within the following areas of inquiry and research:
– public and institutional communication;
– electoral communication and campaign management;
– 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;
– political communication in times of war;
– the migration crisis and its narrative;
– political communication and scientific communication (in the context of health crises);
– the role of social networks;
– methods and techniques of data collection and processing in communication studies;
– rhetoric and narratives of politics;
– the personalization of politics and the leadership;
– popularization of politics and celebrity politics;
– digital media and new forms of political action;
– disinformation and fake news;
– political incivility and hate speech;
– digital media governance;
– the opportunities and challenges posed by the evolution of artificial intelligence;
– the challenges of the ‘platform society’;
– digital constitutionalism.
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.
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 the advent of economic crisis linked to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, a crisis of conventional forms of political participation has been spreading, together with a general growth of grassroots political participation and the crisis of representative democracy.
New waves of mobilizations against the politics of containment of the pandemic did spread both in Europe and beyond, 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 have thrived upon the transversal participation of right- and left-wing social movements fringes, and of parties and movements of clearly populist character. Environmental justice movements pouring into the global squares against climate change; the trans-feminist movements which organized 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. 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, the production of vaccines and the war in Ukraine that became viral on social networks. While policy makers often react with “emergency measures” to crises, social movements refuse the emergency narrative proposed by power holders, recalling to 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 Covid-19 period, the war, the spread of illiberal governments, the climate change and 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.
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
– Methodological and conceptual challenges in studying movements and collective action in times of crisis
– Gender-related movements, anti-gender themes and feminism
– Political participation and new forms of digital activism
– Emotions and social movements
– Arts, politics and movements
– Prefigurative politics and movements
– Outcomes of social movements
Chairs: Laura Polverari 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 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.
Chairs: Sonia Lucarelli 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: Silvia Bolgherini and Fulvio Venturino
This section aims to include panels and papers focusing on the three areas corresponding to the interests of the Standing Group on Parties, Public Opinion, and Elections. Prospective panels and papers may revolve around local, national and supranational elections, be theoretically and/or empirically oriented, use survey and aggregate data as well as qualitative methods, focus on case studies or adopt a comparative perspective.
The following (non-exhaustive) list suggests some possible topics for contributions to the section’s activities.
1. Political Parties
A first and classical approach focuses on party systems, whose relevant aspects are, among others: format, level of polarization, electoral volatility, (de)institutionalization.
An alternative classical approach considers parties as organizations. Here the discussion on party models is pivotal, e.g. on the evolving and existing types of parties (electoral/catch-all party, cartel party, personal party, digital party and other more recent forms).
Another stream of research takes into account the role of the party membership, assessing the (usually declining) levels of involvement in parties’ life, the importance of militancy, and the types of incentives to encourage people to activism.
Appropriate for the section is also the study of party leaders as heads of their organizations and as vote drivers.
Examining public and private financial support to parties is, as well, a field of interest for the section.
Parties are primarily election-oriented organizations. Thus, all types of parties’ involvement in elections are pertinent topics for our section, including aspects of electoral supply and coalition-building strategies.
Finally, this section accepts contributions concerning parties in government dealing with, among others: party elites in parliaments and cabinets, careers patterns, sociological and political representation; institutional and decisional processes.
2. Public opinion
The section hosts contributions about the attitudes expressed by public opinion (also) in non-electoral times.
For instance, panels and papers could address citizens’ preferences toward policy issues at all territorial levels.
Another field of research welcomed in the section is the populist surge and its criticisms towards representative democracy.
Finally, contributions may revolve around ideological polarization affecting some segments of the citizenship.
The study of elections at all territorial levels is a major point of this section.
Elections in democratic and hybrid regimes may be discussed, for instance, by considering the management of the electoral process and the election quality.
The role played by the electoral rules may be considered from the point of view of the structure and the impact of the electoral system, or the regulations about candidacy and incompatibility.
Electoral campaign may be analyzed from the point of view of their financial rules, and access to media. The analysis of campaign strategies may concentrate on political communication, concern digitalization and the use of negative campaigning. Contribution on the electoral campaign effects may intend to answer the traditional question: “Do campaigns matter”?
The investigation of electoral behavior may address turnout, party choice, and sophisticated behavior such as strategic voting.
Voters’ attitudes towards democracy and studies on political efficacy are also pertinent topics for the section.
Contributions may also examine electoral drivers and cues, as in the case of economic voting.
This section also accepts contributions on sui generis elections, such as referenda and primaries.
Chairs: Giorgia Nesti and Stefania Ravazzi
The Section for Regional Studies and Local Policies 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 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, the Covid-19 pandemic 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. But old and new policy problems and, in particular, the green, digital and demographic transitions 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 effectively, efficiently and transparently manage funding and interventions.
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 autonomy – an issue strongly supported by the League in Veneto and Lombardy but also by the Democratic Party in Emilia-Romagna. After the consultative referendum in 2017 the draft law by Senator Calderoli 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 is 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.
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 political class 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 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.
Chairs: Alessia Damonte and 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, regardless of their innovativeness.
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.
Chairs: Edoardo Bressanelli and Igor Guardiancich
Scholars have described the period that began in the second half of 2008 – when the economic and financial crisis hit the EU – as the “poly-crisis” or “perma-crisis” 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, and finally the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 implementation of Next Generation EU to boost post-pandemic recovery and the strategic and policy responses to counter the Russian invasion of Ukraine are possibly the biggest challenges that the EU is currently confronted with. Besides, the EU is also dealing with both long-standing and newer issues, such as the respect of its fundamental values by member countries like Hungary or Poland; post-Brexit arrangements with the UK and specifically the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; the energy crisis following the sanctions on Russia with their cross-policy impact; the reform of economic governance which may eventually come to light.
The five-year cycle which started in 2019 – with, for the first time, the absence of an absolute majority between the centre-right (the group of the European People’s Party) and the centre-left (the Socialists and Democrats) in the European Parliament – is also nearing its conclusion, and the EU will soon renovate its Parliament – strongly shaken by the Qatar-gate and corruption scandals investing some members and staff – and ‘elect’ a new President of the Commission in the early summer of 2024. There is some uncertainty over the Spitzenkandidaten process, which was successfully introduced in 2014 but already abandoned in 2019, and the reform of the electoral law for the EP elections, introducing transnational constituencies.
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, in particular 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 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 hottest policy fields, such as the labour market, social security and protection, energy capacity, environmental preservation, digitalization and its regulation etc.;
– the implementation and subsequent adaptation 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.
Chairs: Francesca Feo 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.
Aiming to develop the results achieved at the SISP Conference in 2022, we propose the “gender and politics” section for the 2023 conference. 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:
● Theoretical and methodological issues in measuring and conceptualizing gender in political science
● Political representation and intersectionality
● Parties, parliaments and governments
● Gender policies and LGBTIQ+ policies
● Intersectional approaches to public policies
● Care politics
● Gender and workplace policies
● Gender, communication and public discourses (online and offline)
● Social movements, activism and dynamics of politicization of gender and sexuality issues
● Gender violence online and offline
● Feminism and democracy
● Gender and academia
● Gender and international relations
● Gender and security 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: Marco Di Giulio, Marco Almagisti, Antonio Campati, Damiano Palano
This edition of the annual conference of the Italian Political Science Association offers several hints to critically reflect on the history of the discipline, some of which are related to the city of Genoa. Hence, Giorgio Sola, the unsurpassed historiographer of the discipline, brought political science to this university. Over and above his “History of Political Science”, Sola has also enriched the debate with important contributions on the theory of the elites. Curiously, the congress takes place on the 100th anniversary of the death of Vilfredo Pareto, a prominent figure among elitists and of Genoese origin. 2023 is also an opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the “political science” section within the AISP, the nucleus from which the current SISP was born a few years later, in 1982.
In the wake of these anniversaries, the section looks for panels reflecting on political science in a historical perspective, the role of classics and their relevance for contemporary debates, the evolutionary trajectories of the main concepts.
Chairs: Alessandra Russo and Sorina Soare
This Jolly Section seeks to contribute to enhancing the epistemic community engaged in innovative studies of post-Soviet countries and societies, questioning even the meaning of “post-Soviet” itself and reconsidering the way knowledge about the “post-Soviet” is produced and organized. Moreover, it intends to discuss the restructuring of the post-Soviet space, according to a multi-disciplinary discussion that could bridge the fields of Comparative Politics and International Relations, on the one hand, and Area Studies, on the other.
The section chairs welcome proposals for “conventional” panels as well as one or two round-tables possibly devoted to “teaching the post-Soviet field” and/or methodological controversies (data collection and problematisation, knowledge production and circulation in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine).
Possible themes for the panels include:
1) Overlapping institutions and projects in the Eurasian spaces: reflecting on the role of international and regional organisations
2) The enlargement of the Enlargement and the perspectives of a Wider Eastern Neighborhood
3) Regime stability, survival and successions in the framework of illiberal and hybrid political orders
4) Post-Soviet as the New Post-Colonial?
5) The War in Ukraine and the changing character of armed conflicts, political violence and security in the former Soviet area.