Sunday, 27 January 2019

IPSG WORKSHOP - CALL FOR PAPERS

Call for Papers
The crisis of European social democracy: causes and consequences in an age of political uncertainty
PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group Conference, Genoa 14-15 June 2019

Over the last ten years almost all European social democratic parties have experienced major setbacks (one may even call them ‘shocks’) in a context of economic, social and political uncertainty. Whereas the 1980s and 1990s were seen as a phase of transition, transformation and renewal of European social democracy, the current decade has been marked by the dramatic – perhaps irreversible – decline in the fortunes of one of the oldest and most resilient political families in the European democratic tradition.
The debate on the ‘crisis’ of social democracy is not a recent one and some scholars already reflected on the ideological and organisational transformations of centre-left parties after the so-called Trente Glorieuses (1945-1975). However, the challenges that social democracy had to face in the 1980s and 1990s seem less serious when compared to the current ones, which may deal a fatal blow to established reformist parties. The electoral defeats that social democratic parties have recently suffered in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and almost all other European countries have no precedent in the history of Europe after WW2. The recovery in the late 1990s, with the emergence of Tony Blair’s Third Way and the formation of renewed centre-left governments in most European countries, was rather short-lived and first signs of reversal were already evident in the first decade of the 21st century. However, it is after the beginning of the financial, and then economic, crisis in 2007-8 that the vulnerabilities of the reformist Left became increasingly evident.
The aim of this conference is to shed light not only on the circumstances that have contributed to the crisis of social-democratic parties over the last ten years but also on the impact that such crisis has on democratic processes and public policy. We welcome contributions in three key areas. The first area focuses on internal characteristics of social democratic parties, that is, their organisation/membership, leadership and their political platforms/ideologies. The second one looks at the social and political environment in which social democratic parties compete. One may consider transformations in socio-economic conditions and voters’ attitudes and preferences (demand-side) or changing patterns of inter-party competition, with the emerge of new challengers (supply-side). Lastly the third area focuses on the implications of the social democratic crisis for Western European democracies and for relevant policy areas. Of course, the three areas identified here should not necessarily be analysed in isolation and we also welcome contributions that aim to establish links between them.

Paper proposals should be emailed to Davide Vampa (d.vampa@aston.ac.uk) by 17th March 2019

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Reinstatement of Jim Newell - closure of petition

Dear supporters of the petition to reinstate Professor Jim Newell in his job at the University of Salford, this petition is now closed and I would like to thank you, yet again, for your tremendous support. Following is a message to all of you from Jim Newell.
Daniele Albertazzi

"Dear all
Though I have decided to cease seeking reinstatement with Salford, I remain fully committed to campaigning against the marketisation of Higher Education. When I joined academia in 1991, UK universities were self-respecting institutions dedicated to teaching and research for their own sakes; essentially decent employers; institutions which, yes, were hierarchical as all institutions inevitably are, but which were also run on the collegial lines befitting the academic calling. All that has since largely gone as universities have come to be viewed as businesses, often run by managers with no background in academia – institutions governed with an eye almost exclusively on league tables, institutions in which teaching and research appear to be valued only and exclusively to the extent that they make money.
I know that I am by no means alone in refusing to accept that this is a legitimate way to run universities and I look forward to contributing to the growing tide of resistance to it among academic staff and students.
Many thanks for all your tremendous support.
Jim Newell"

Sunday, 23 September 2018

PSA 2019 CONFERENCE - CALL FOR PAPERS

The next PSA Conference will take place in Nottingham on 15-17 April 2019. The PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group will run at least three conference panels. Please find below our calls for papers. 

Panel 1. Populist Parties in Government: Suffering, Surviving or Thriving?

What happens to populist parties once they get into power? This is not a trivial question. Literature has addressed this subject in the past. For instance, the volume by Albertazzi and McDonnell (2015) is an important contribution in the field. Their research shows that populist parties can survive when in government. In fact, they can even thrive, consolidating or further expanding their success. However, other scholars (i.e. Heinisch, 2010) underlined that, once in government, populist parties are forced to confront the harsh reality. The expectations they raised may turn out to be a double-edged sword. One may therefore argue that populist parties, because of the nature of their claims and their communication style, tend to be more politically and electorally successful when in opposition. After the recent general elections in Italy, two populist parties, the League and the 5 Start Movement, formed a coalition government. Of course, this is not the first populist government in Italy. Berlusconi’s party and the Northern League ruled together in the 1990s and 2000s. Yet until the late 2000s, governmental populism was mainly regarded as an anomaly, a temporary deviation from political normality. Over the last years, however, right-wing and left-wing populist parties have entered (or backed) governments in an increasing number of European countries. This panel aims to contribute to the renewed debate on populist parties and their relationship with power and governmental responsibility. We encourage submission of papers that tackle this topic from different perspectives, such as: policy agendas, institutional and political communication, party organisation and leadership, intra-coalition conflicts etc.

Panel 2. The Red Sunset: Challenges to Social Democracy in an Age of Political Turmoil

In recent years a great amount of research has focused on the rise of new political actors in a context of increasing uncertainty. Considerably less attention has been paid to how mainstream centre-left parties across Europe (and beyond) have reacted (and adapted) to changing political and socio-economic circumstances. Whereas the 1980s and 1990s were seen as a phase of transition, transformation and renewal of social democracy, the current decade has been marked by the dramatic – perhaps irreversible – decline in the fortunes of one of the oldest and most resilient political families in the European democratic tradition. The aim of this panel is to shed light not only on the circumstances that have contributed to the crisis of social-democratic parties over the last ten years but also on the impact that such crisis has on democratic processes and public policy. We identify three key areas that can be analysed by contributors. The first area focuses on internal characteristics of social democratic parties, that is, their organisation/membership, leadership and their political programmes. The second one looks at the social and political environment in which social democratic parties compete. One may consider transformations in socio-economic conditions and voters’ attitudes and preferences (demand-side) or changing patterns of inter-party competition, with the emerge of new challengers (supply-side). Lastly the third area focuses on the implications of the social democratic crisis for Western European democracies and for relevant policy areas. Of course, the three areas identified here should not necessarily be analysed in isolation and we also welcome contributions that aim to establish links between them. 

Panel 3. New Dynamics of National and Transnational Party Competition in Europe (Joint Call for Papers of the French Politics, German Politics, Greek Politics, Italian Politics, Nordic Politics, and Parliaments Specialist Groups) 
 
The year 2019 will be crucial for the European Union, since radically new political equilibria could emerge in the aftermath of the elections to the European Parliament in May. Anti-establishment and populist parties are expected to win significant support, and this may have important consequences for the governance of the single market and the processes of political and economic integration. The joint panels will explore how the competition between political parties in Europe is shaping dynamics at both national and supranational levels in the year of the European Parliament elections. Are we observing a redefinition of political cleavages? Are European political parties forming new transnational alliances and coalitions? Can we identify diverging political trends in different parts of Europe (Central Eastern vs Western Europe or Northern vs Southern Europe)? What are the consequences of these changing dynamics for the effective functioning of the European Parliament, and indeed the European Union? The Greek Politics, Nordic Politics, Italian Politics, French Politics, German Politics, and Parliaments Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals for joint panels under this call. Welcome are single case studies, comparative papers, and theoretical explorations on the above and further questions.

The deadline for paper proposals is 12 October 2018. Please e-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to Davide Vampa (d.vampa@aston.ac.uk) and Antonella Seddone (antonella.seddone@unito.it).

You are also welcome to contact us to submit an alternative panel proposal. Please send us an abstract of the panel and, if possible, up to four paper abstracts that are linked to the panel topic (with names and affiliations of the proposed presenters and chair). Please make sure that the panel proposal reflects gender diversity. All-male submissions won't be considered. The deadline is also 12 October 2018.