CfP: “Democratic Participation” Workshop

Call for Papers

Annual Research Workshop 2018
“Democratic participation: theoretical and empirical perspectives”
September 13-14, 2018
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Organizers: DemocracyNet and Doctoral Program Democracy Studies (DPDS, University of Zurich)

Full Call for Papers and guidelines for application and participation

Topic of the Workshop

Citizen participation is broadly understood as a constitutive element of democracy. Without people discussing public affairs and voting, representative democracies are hollowed out and decay. While some political actors and commentators lament the low political turnout in ordinary elections and the political disengagement of various groups of citizens (young people, minorities, lower classes), other ones experiment new ways to try and revive the civic flame. Innovative ideas to expand the narrow institutional frame of purely representative democracy and include more forms of political participation – such as participatory budgeting, mini-publics, political consumerism, workplace democracy, compulsory and facultative referendums, liquid democracy, town meetings, or judicial juries – have gained growing support both in academic and public discourse.

These contemporary debates on political participation raise numerous questions: What can be considered “political participation”? How should researchers approach democratic participation, both theoretically and empirically? What forms of participation are necessary for democratic systems? What is the relationship between participation and democratic decision-making? How can desirable forms of participation be promoted? Where are the limits to democratic participation? Who is excluded from political participation? The workshop aims at exploring these issues form various theoretical and empirical perspectives, both in democratic and nondemocratic contexts.

The Annual Research Workshop “Democratic participation: theoretical and empirical perspectives” provides a space for junior researchers to present and discuss their research on these and related questions from different theoretical and empirical perspectives.

Guidelines for participation

The workshop is open for PhD students and Postdocs. We encourage applications from participants from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives interested in the democracy studies in general and political participation in particular. Applications by doctoral students from within the DPDS are particularly welcome, but the workshop is open to all interested persons, including postdoctoral researchers. Each participant is invited to present her/his research project or a current research paper, which they will share with all the other participants ahead of the workshop; we particularly encourage the presentation of PhD projects.

The afternoon of the second day of the workshop will be devoted to interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary dialogues oriented towards the development and organization of research projects and transfer events. The working sessions and activities will support and encourage the establishment of useful collaborative networks.

Participants are expected to attend the whole workshop.


Please specify what you would like to present during the workshop sessions and send a short description of your research project (300-400 words abstract) and your personal details to Henri-Pierre Mottironi by June 15, 2018.
We will inform you that we have received your proposals. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week’s time, you should assume we have not (yet) received your proposal.

Costs and Grants

The workshop is free of charge. Please contact us as soon as possible if you require any grants for travel or accommodation costs.