ECPR Panel: Ethnic and National Diversity and Democracy in Europe

WP 8 – Identity Formation and Enlargement

WP 8 events

Reykjavik, 25-27 August 2011

Call for papers

Paper proposals are invited for a panel on ‘Ethnic and national diversity and democracy in Europe’, chaired by Monika Mokre. The panel is one of seven panels of a conference section on ‘Reconstituting Democracy in Europe’ at the 6th ECPR General Conference at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, 25-27 August 2011.

Deadline for paper proposals: 1 February 2011

For further details, please see the Reykjavik 2011 conference page.

Download ECPR guidelines for paper proposals (pdf) 


Panel abstract: Ethnic and National Diversity and Democracy in Europe

Panel chair: Monika Mokre (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Ethnic and national diversity is a common feature of contemporary European societies challenging traditional conceptions of democracy and citizenship. Out of different academic and political perspectives, this development is either seen as a problem for or, even, a threat to democracy, or as a means of democratization. These different evaluations are caused by differing understandings of democracy represented, e.g., by the following questions: How much cohesion and which kinds of cohesion do democratic societies need? How should citizenship in democratic societies be defined? How much diversity can be allowed in a democratic public sphere? Which rights should apply to majorities and minorities respectively? How much adaptation to the needs and interests of new citizens and denizens is desirable?

Obviously, at this point in time, we do not have any commonly agreed answers to these questions. At the same time, however, European societies have to deal with ethnic and national diversity on a practical day-to-day level. But how can democratically acceptable solutions be found when concepts of democracy fundamentally differ? It is the aim of this panel to analyse this tension in contemporary debates on ethnic and national diversity. While also inviting theoretical approaches, the focus on the panel is on empirical work: How do different actors in the public sphere (political parties, civil society, media, think tanks) evaluate the relationship between democracy and diversity? On which normative assumptions are these evaluations based? Which solutions are offered for diverse democratic societies?


Section: Reconstituting Democracy in Europe

Section chair: Hans-Jörg Trenz (ARENA, University of Oslo)

The purpose of the section is to examine from a range of perspectives the possible need to (re-)conceive of democracy under conditions of pluralism, diversity and complex multilevel governance. In this sense the focus is on the emerging EU-polity and its interaction with national and regional/local levels of government. The section thus invites theoretical and substantive contributions that respond to current trends and challenges in the transformation of democracy in Europe.