Archive for June, 2010

ESA RN 32 Political Sociology Mid-term Conference: Citizenship and Democracy: Membership, forms of participation, within and across European territories (4-5.11.2010 University of Lille 2, France); DL: 22.06.2010

ESA RN 32 Political Sociology conference
Citizenship and Democracy: Membership, forms of participation, within and across European territories.

CALL FOR PAPERS
Research Network 32 – Political Sociology
NEW ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE : 22 June 2010
Please submit abstracts to: rn32mtc2010(at)gmail.com

The European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Political Sociology announces its first mid-term conference, to be held at the University of Lille 2 in France, 4-5 November 2010.

The Research Network is intended as a site for enduring debate and exchange to measure the scale and scope of the ongoing transformation of political order and authority in Europe and beyond. The dynamics of  political ordering and re-ordering are a classical research field for comparative sociology. Over the last decades, Europe has increasingly turned into an experimental field for the re-structuring of political order. In particular European integration and the consolidation of supranational authority have made it necessary to re-address these classical themes of sociology. The establishment of a political sociology section is therefore meant as an integrating effort for evaluating the challenges to the Westphalian order of nation-states but also for testing out the opportunities for the consolidation of a new type of political order and its legitimacy. This entails an explicit focus on the advancement of institutional and organizational theory as well as on democratic theory that are detached from their implicit or explicit nation-state functions. Members include scholars working inter alia on citizenship and governance structures, political institutions, states and communities, political attitudes and forms of political participation and political communication.

The aim of this mid-term conference will be to establish the evolutions of the links between members of political communities, the territories of authority, the evolving forms of democracy, and the ways in which the political is embedded in social, economic, and cultural contexts.

In particular, we encourage submission of abstracts on the following themes:

1) Territories and practiced citizenship from the local level to the transnational Euro-context: local democracy, urban segregation and citizenship; citizenship and the nation-state; supranational and transnational forms of citizenship, etc.

2) New forms of participative democracy and transformations of representative democracy: associations, interest groups, political networks, participation in the digital public sphere; political parties and the transformation of political cleavages in a European/global context, protest parties, electoral volatility and voting behavior, etc.

3) Migrants and citizenship in Europe: urban segregation and different spheres of citizenship for migrants; representation of migrants in national party systems; (dissociation of) citizenship and nationality, citizenship and the crisis of national integration models; transnational mobilization and citizenship.

4) Populism in Europe: populism, nationalism, euroscepticism, radical right parties in the new cleavage structure of national party systems, the electorate of radical right parties, etc.

Abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted to the organizers by 22 June 2010. Please include information on the theoretical and methodological approach as well as the key argument and/or findings of the proposed paper. Abstracts with more than one author should indicate one contact for communication.

Presenters will be sent an email informing them whether their abstract has been accepted by 15 July 2010. Presenters whose papers have been accepted must confirm their attendance at the conference by 1 September 2010.

Conference venue and organization: The conference will be hosted by the CERAPS, Lille Center for Politics. The research center is located within the Faculty of Law of the University of Lille 2, a convenient ten minute subway ride from the main train station. Lille is easily accessible by train (Eurostar and TGV). There is an airport but also direct high speed trains from the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport that only take 45 minutes. Participants are asked to make their own travel arrangements and book accommodation. We will suggest a range of hotels (prices range from €50 to €110 a night). Information on how to get to the Law School building of the University of Lille 2 by rail, bus, air and road can be found at:  http://ceraps.univ-lille2.fr/fr/plan-d-acces.html. There will be a conference diner on Thursday evening and lunch provided on Friday on the premises.

To encourage participation by a broad range of early career researchers and experienced academics, there is no registration fee.  To register, please write to: rn32mtc2010(at)gmail.com with the following information: name, position, affiliation with postal address, country, email address and dietary preferences.

Abstract Submission: Please submit abstracts of 250 words to: rn32mtc2010(at)gmail.com

Further information: Contact Virginie Guiraudon and Dietmar Loch at:  rn32mtc2010(at)gmail.com

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 Research 1 Comment

All Those Mighty Men Defending Democracy and the Freedom of Speech? Is Plebiscitarian Democracy Swiss Style the Future of Finnish Democracy- the Solution of a New Finnish Radical Right Populist Party? (I)

2010 and respectively 2011 are going to be very lively years, at least politically in the northern part of the EU; Sweden will held parliamentary and local elections on 19th September 2010, and Finland in the first half of 2011, most likely in April. What distinguishes these elections from the previous ones is the ever greater presence of Radical Right Populist (RRP) parties. This blog entry will be divided into two parts, first focusing on Finland and the possible rearrangements on the Finish political scene before the Finnish Parliamentary elections. The second part, which will be published in a later entry, will more carefully analyze the change in attitudes towards the main Swedish RRP, the Sweden Democrats (SD/Sverigedemokraterna), especially on behalf of the media and the party’s preparations for the coming elections in September.

In Finland, it seems that RRP parties attempt to make even deeper inroads into the national parliament. In the 2007 elections the True Finns (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna) received some 4.5% of the votes which translated into 5 seats in the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta/Riksdagen). Not only that, but it seems that PS was not perceived as a political force to be avoided, or ringed by the cordon sanitaire like in Sweden. As such, the 2009 EU elections witnessed the alliance between the populist PS and the Christian-Democrats (KD/Kristillisdemokraatit/Kristdemokraterna) which led to their presence in the European Parliament with 2 representatives.

But that appears to be only the beginning.  Recently, the online newspapers Uusi Suomi (New Finland) published an article about the emergence of a splinter group from PS as a full-fledged party, after having gathered the required 5,000 signatures (in Finnish, tässä).  The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE/Yleisradio/ Rundradion) reported on the possibility of this new RRP political force in Finland as well (more extensively in Finnish, tässä; briefly in Swedish, här).

The new political force, which reunites the more immigrant critical voices from PS, is lead by Juha Mäki-Ketelä and in the near future will apply for being recognized as a political entity, submitting the collected signatures to the Minister of Justice. According to its leader, the new political force has quite ambitious plans aiming at 2-3 seats in the future Finnish Parliament. Interestingly the party to be is called Muutos 2011 (Förändring 2011/ Change 2011). Mäki-Ketelä appeared to be rather irritated about the anti-immigration allegations and underlined that his future party will focus on the rights of Finnish citizens and the possibility of enforcing a more plebiscitary type of politics in Finland.

A closer look at the party web-pages (in Finnish, tässä; and briefly in Swedish, här; and English here) resemble a book example of RRP: the party would aim to 1) advance the interest of Finnish citizens; 2) direct democracy to support parliamentary democracy; 3) freedom of speech includes dissidents and those expressing opinions different from mainstream; 4) abandonment of consensus politics; and last but not least, 5) rationalization of immigration politics. Indeed 1) and 2) sound like the recipe for the modern democratic malaise, with low participation of the citizenry in the elections and an increasing politics of consensus that estranges even more the citizenry. Thus 4) is pointing an accusing finger, very much in the populist vein, at the Finnish political establishment that is found guilty of building consensus for their policies. 3) is intimately related to 4) since they both constitute a critique to “politics as usual” of Western democracies. And finally, 5) does not really come at a surprise if it is to remember that the party is representing PS‘ anti-immigration breakaway group.

However, some questions come to the fore. Would the Swiss model of direct democracy energize Finnish democracy, or would be the plebiscitarian option used to stave off immigration policy in Finland? How greater a role played the result of the latest Swiss referendum – that which witnessed the forbidding of minarets being built in Switzerland – in Muutos 2011 decision to embrace plebiscite as means of democratic expression? What kind of effect would have the presence of this party on PS? Will it become a part of the mainstream, even a desired coalition partner in the coming Finnish government; will other parties share PS‘ criticism of immigration and welfare protectionism?

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Monday, June 7th, 2010 Miscellaneous No Comments