Ort: European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)
Local organizers: Prof. Dr. Timm Beichelt, Prof. Dr. Michael Minkenberg, Dr. Sonja Priebus, Zsuzsanna Végh Conference languages: German and English (Polish/French panels possible)
What appeared like an unlikely scenario twenty or more years ago has become a fact: in Europe and beyond, the liberal democratic order and its value system are under attack at various levels. We witness political struggles dealing with global and politically infectious problems such as climate change, the financial crisis or, more recently, the Covid crisis. Moreover, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not just a regional war but an assault on the entire international order and the democratic world. These events disclose not only political conflicts within and between states and societies but also suggest that at least some democratic arrangements and processes are ill-suited to tackle these challenges; already, calls for an eco-dictatorship are being issued. This occurs within a changed political climate, in which extremist parties and movements are on the rise, the (strategic) use of misinformation sharpens polarization and governments increasingly rely on illiberal measures as a means of control.. Even in established democracies, we are confronted with the emergence of post-truth regimes, in which “truthiness”, “fake news”, and “alternative facts” infiltrate political discourse and blur the lines between knowledge and beliefs, fact and fiction.
In another vein, many governments have begun to use modern communication technologies and AI to monitor citizens, control public life, and collect data on the population and visitors alike all in the name of enhancing security against crime and terrorism. Again, this development concerns not only authoritarian regimes, but also developed democracies. These changes are accompanied by a growing frustration, alienation, and anger of average citizens vis-à-vis their governments and governmental systems, thus fueling the authoritarian temptations. Simultaneously, global (ecological) protest movements not only manifest anger and frustration but also demonstrate the politicization of parts of the allegedly disenchanted youth and other segments of the populace.
From a comparative politics perspective such “political climate change” or even: manifold climate changes pose several critical questions, both theoretically and empirically. We want to bring together scholars who examine these changes and their consequences in a comparative fashion and invite regional, European, and global perspectives. The Section welcomes different theoretical and conceptual approaches, whether novel or well-established, quantitative or qualitative, in order to improve our understanding of the various facets of large-scale political changes in Europe and beyond. It is open to various sub-disciplines, with different methodological and empirical approaches and with scopes ranging from single case studies to large-n comparative papers.
Panels and papers may address the following questions and issues in an ideational, institutionalist, actor-oriented and/or policy-related perspective but are not restricted to them:
‐ What is the nature of political climate change and how can it be conceptualized? Are we seeing a global trend or – notwithstanding similarities – can we observe regionally distinct phenomena?
‐ How does the Russian aggression in Ukraine and its meddling with other parts of the world play into political climate change?
‐ Which institutions are drivers of such challenges, and what is the role of governments?
‐ Which actors engage in political climate change, and what are their strategies and effects?
‐ How is (political) communication and discourse affected (e.g. “post-truth regimes” and the like)? Is political climate change a manifestation or an effect of changing discourses?
‐ How is public opinion affected and what are the effects of public opinion?
-What are the policy implications of these changes in a national, Europe-wide, regional, or global scope?
The 2022 conference will take place at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, from 21-23 September. The meeting aims to attract established scholars along with young academics (Ph.D. candidates and post-docs) from across the world. It is a central aim of the German Political Science Association to increase the proportion of young scientists and women at its events, who are therefore particularly encouraged to apply. The working language of the conference is German and English. This call for papers aims for individual papers. A limited number of panel proposals can still be accepted as well. It is envisaged to hold the conference on-site in Frankfurt (Oder). If the pandemic circumstances prohibit this, the event format will change into an online meeting.