Summer School: “Democratic innovations in Europe and in the European Union”
An initiative of the ECPR Standing Group on Democratic Innovations Organized by the Université Saint-Louis – Brussels & Université catholique de Louvain
Monday 21 – Friday 25 August 2017
The weaknesses of representative democracy, the recurring problems in the process of political representation, and the partial failure of government accountability led to an increasing discontent of citizens towards political institutions and politicians. The latter have gradually abandoned the traditional modes of involvement (electoral turnout, party membership). One of the solutions to address this ‘democratic malaise’ has been the adoption of different democratic innovations (especially in the form of direct democracy and dialogue-oriented procedures) aiming to foster the effective inclusion of citizens in political decision-making. Over the last three decades democratic innovations gained momentum throughout the world both in terms of rules and use. In spite of these developments, there are very few university courses discussing the functioning and consequences of democratic innovations.
The summer school on democratic innovations addresses this problem and seeks to provide students with a fuller understanding of democratic innovations. The courses will discuss in detail their effects on communities, structures, systems, policies and citizens’ participation. The summer school aims to identify and assess the benefits, disadvantages, functioning and challenges of democratic innovations in contemporary representative democracies. To achieve these objectives, the summer school will combine a broad array of theoretical approaches (made available to students in the reading package of every course) with methodological and empirical perspectives in every course (i.e. a hands-on approach). The sessions are divided in five days of teaching that alternate between the three major types of innovations: direct democracy, dialogue- oriented, and mixed. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in a series of applied exercises that will reveal the complexities of democratic innovations. The lecturers are experienced researchers in the fields of political representation and democratic innovations and all course of the summer school follow a student-centred approach.
We invite applications from advanced Master students and PhD students from all across Europe and the world. Applicants should send a letter of motivation and their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 1 April 2017 and ideally before as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will have to make their own travel arrangements. Thanks to the support of the ECPR and the Standing Group Democratic Innovations as well as the organizing universities and partners, the registration fee only amounts to 50 euros and covers accommodation, meals, coffee breaks, and all teaching activities in Brussels from Monday (21 August) till Friday (25 August). Participants will be given the opportunity to present their own project/research via a poster and to discuss lecturers’ on-going research during the final workshop. The summer school intends to be a place of intense interactions and joyful discussions about democratic innovations.