ECPR General Conference – University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria 26 – 28 August 2020
Governance of Big Transformations (Section 31)
Stefan Wurster, Professor at the Bavarian School for Public Policy at TU Munich, stefan.wursterhfp.tumde
Markus B. Siewert, Interim Professor for Political Sociology at the University of Greifswald, markus.siewertuni-greifswaldde
The narrative of ‘Big Transformations’ is a diagnosis of our time which subsumes a series of fundamental and radical changes taking place across economic, societal, and political spheres – including, among others, the so-called Digital Revolution, major ecological challenges, or demographic changes. These big transformations fundamentally challenge existing political frameworks and leave almost no aspect of life untouched. Against this backdrop, major updates in nearly all policy areas are essential, calling upon policy makers, business leaders and societal actors to actively address these transformations. This is, of course, not an easy task to achieve: Big transformative changes are highly complex, ambiguous, and ambivalent. Some hold the promise for contributing or even solv-ing long-standing problems, while unintended consequences more and more enter the limelight of public and political discourse. Some changes are gradual and slow-moving requiring long-term commitments, while others are more disruptive and need rapid responses.
This Section aims to bring together scholars with an interest in examining fundamental questions related to the governance of big transformations. It invites theoretically grounded and empirically informed Papers that explore how various political, economic and societal actors adapt socio-politically and socio-economically to these transformations or are themselves working to promote or counteract these changes. While the focus may be in relation to specific sectors, policy areas, or societal and policy processes, we call on scholars who address issues from a (national or international) comparative perspective. We explicitly welcome theoretical and methodological pluralism and encourage contributions from various approaches and techniques applied in the field. Moreover, submissions are equally welcome from senior and junior scholars. Upon completion of the conference, the authors of selected Papers from the Panels will be considered to contribute to a special issue of a relevant journal or an edited volume with the ECPR Press.
Governing the Platform Society
Chair: Robert Gorwa (University of Oxford) Thorsten Thiel (Weizenbaum Institute Berlin)
Major platforms for user-generated content like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have played a pivotal role in the so so-called ‘Digital Revolution,’ putting a wealth of social, cultural, and political information at the fingertips of billions of people around the world. However, in the past few years, scholarly and policy concern has grown around the various possible negative externalities posed by these platforms, ranging from the proliferation of speech that spreads hate and incites violence to the apparent spread of misinformation and electoral interference. The goal of this Panel will be to critically situate the current European policy conversation on platform regulation within the broader tradition of political science scholarship on governing firms and digital transformations, highlighting prospective contributions from international political economy, global governance, and comparative politics.
Governance of Climate Change Transformations
Chair: Miranda Schreurs (TU Munich)
This Panel invites Papers focusing on the many new forms that climate activism has taken in recent years ranging from those which have received much media attention, such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion, but also those which are perhaps somewhat less known, such as court cases against major carbon dioxide emitters or against states which fail to take action to implement climate targets. It will examine the changing forms and targets of activism and the reactions of states and industry to these activities. Comparisons with previous forms of climate activism could also be possible contributions.
Governance of Science and Technology Transformations
Chairs: Stefan Wurster (TU Munich) Ronit Justo-Hanani (Tel-Aviv University)
The aim of the Panel is to analyze the governance and risk regulation of science and technology transformations in policy-areas such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, GMOs and food biosecurity/safety from an international and comparative perspective. We welcome Papers that aim to explore and evaluate the characteristics, the determinants (factors and actors) and policy practices that shape and portray regulatory policies of these emerging technologies in different countries. This is expected to provide a broader perspective and in-depth explanation of the differences and similarities in regulatory policies and to address gaps in existing analyses of the governance of emerging technologies.
Governance of Intergenerational Transformations
Chairs: Pieter Vanhuysse (University of Southern Denmark)
This Panel invites Papers on the interplay of major demographic changes with issues of the governance of, politics by, policies for generations. What are the consequences of these transformations for governance, political life and intergenerational relations (conflict, solidarity, cohesion, justice)? Do the steadily increasing groups of elderly voters start to grab ever more public resources for themselves, leading to pro-elderly bias in democracies? Or do we rather live in pro-elderly welfare states embedded within otherwise child-oriented societies? Where and when do elderly voters’ policy interests come at the expense of young people? If so, what are the political mechanisms behind this? And what can we say about the equity, or social justice, of the way different societies divide resources between the young and the old? Which policies and institutional innovations might improve intergenerational justice or the future sustainability of aging democracies?
Regulating Big Transformations
Chair: David Levi-Faur (Hebrew University)
This Panel is devoted to the regulatory response to the big technological transformations. It asks who are the actors that respond to these transformations, to what extent they are effective and legitimate and to what extent they revitalize democratic and regulatory institutions or degrade them. To what extent does Big Transformation call to Big Government and to which extent this transformation strengthen global private governance?
Politics of Big Transformations
Chairs: Fedra Negri (University of Milan) Markus B. Siewert (University Greifswald)
This Panel invites Papers that focus on the politics of big transformations on the international and the national level through intermediary institutions such as political parties, unions, and social movements. Against this backdrop, we particularly welcome contributions that, inter alia, address questions on a variety of dimensions of big transformations, e.g., economic policies and the welfare state, for instance with regard to potential winners and losers of globalization or conflicts between generations, to controversies over environmental/green policies or the need for more sustainable ways of production/living, debates around immigration, or finally the socio-economic and socio-political changes due to digital technologies.