Political Sociology section at the next ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019

We are very happy to inform you that our section ‘Political Sociology: Contemporary Challenges to State-Society Relations’ with eight panels has been accepted for the next ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019. The steering committee of the SG with the support of its advisory committee took the initiative for the section. Hence, now it is time to come forward with some very interesting suggestions for panels and papers. The call for panels (with 4-5 papers) and individual papers is open since December, 5th via the ECPR website. It will close on 18 February 2019. See the section description here: https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=839&EventID=123

Standing Group’s new Steering and Advisory Committees

In conformity with decisions made at the SG business meeting in Hamburg August 2018, the steering committee of political sociology for the next three years (2018-2020) will be composed of a chair (Laura Landorff), co-chair (Oscar Mazzoleni), secretary (Carlo Ruzza) and treasurer (Tatjana Sekulic). In addition, during these three years an advisory committee will help the steering committee in its activities, composed of Cecilia Biancalana, Charlotte Galpin, Alon Helled, Niilo Kauppi, David Swartz, and Hans-Jörg Trenz.

New Generation of Leadership of the Standing Group


Dear Members of the Political Sociology Standing Group,

To borrow from JFK’s famed inaugural address, Niilo and I are passing the torch on to a new generation of leadership of our SG; Laura Landorff will be Chair and Oscar Mazzoleni will be Co-Chair. This was decided In unanimity at the SG business meeting in Hamburg. Niilo and I congratulate Laura and Oscar on their new responsibilities and look forward to what we believe will be very strong leadership for the SG. Niilo and I will join the SG steering committee. We also welcome Tatjana Sekulic as our new Treasurer and Carlo Ruzza will continue as Secretary.

Laura and Oscar will be in touch with you soon for thematic and panel suggestions for the General Conference next year in Wroclaw, Poland.

David and Niilo.

ECPR Joint Sessions at Université catholique de Louvain in Mons, April 2019

Dear Colleagues,

If any of you are planning to submit proposals for the 2019 Joint Sessions at Université catholique de Louvain in Mons, Belgium April 23-27 2019, this is a reminder that the deadline is February 1. You can submit proposals directly online at the ECPR web site (https://ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=121). If you are interested in getting Standing Group support, please submit your proposal to Niilo (niilo.t.j.kauppi[at]jyu.fi) and me (dswartz[at]bu.edu) by January 26 so that we and the SG Advisory Board will have a chance to review it before making a decision.

Trust 2018 is off to a good start for you.


Call for paper and panel proposals for Oslo 2017

Dear Colleagues,

This is a call for panel and paper proposals for the Oslo meeting September 6-9, 2017. Our Standing Groups has been allotted just five panels, the same number as for the Prague meeting. (We requested eight.). Several of you have already submitted tentative proposals and we encourage you to firm them up and resubmit them well before the official deadline of February 15. We have also received a few paper proposals. Completed panel proposals will need a good descriptive abstract plus the titles and authors names (with authors commitments to present their papers in Oslo) for four or five papers. Panel and paper proposal guidelines and procedures can be found on the ECPR website. Your Standing Group membership via MyECPR will need to be up to date.

This call to submit paper and panel proposals is open to all members of the Standing Group. If we end up with more than five solid proposals, we will petition the ECPR Academic Convenors for an additional panel or two. There is no guarantee that such a petition will be successful but the Convenors are open to considering such proposals. (The numbers of panels is partially constrained by the available rooms at the meeting site.). In addition, the Oslo meeting will include an Open Section set of panels so if by chance your proposal does not make it into the Political Sociology Section we can try to get it included in the Open Section. The same is true for proposed papers.

Below you will find a description of the Standing Group overall theme for the Oslo meeting. This has been approved by ECPR and panel and paper proposals will need to intersect in meaningful ways with the section theme.

Finally a reminder to renew your Section membership via My ECPR if you have not already done so.

Any questions or concerns, just email us.

Happy New Year 2017

Chair. Niilo Kauppi, University of Jyväskylä, niilo.t.j.kauppi[at]jyu.fi
Co-chair: David Swartz, Boston University, dswartz[at]bu.edu


In recent years the European welfare state has come under several challenges: economically, socially, politically, and culturally. The recent migrant crisis, for one, is challenging numerous countries in terms of social support services, security, cultural identity, and legal provision. Populist movements are challenging the dynamics of migrant integration and assimilation and the way political leadership is dealing with them. Are traditional ideals of solidarity being replaced by others? Assumptions of traditional welfare provision are also being challenged by the policies of neoliberalism. Do growing forms of economic inequality undermine the traditional safety nets afforded by state welfare policies? Forms of social solidarity have been a central concern of political sociology from its very inception. It is the social causes and consequences of these challenges that will be the focus of the panels for this section. It seems particularly fitting for political sociologists to examine those challenges at a conference in Oslo since the Nordic countries have often been viewed as model welfare states. Does the Nordic model or any other welfare state model seem capable of addressing the contemporary challenges? Other challenges target the public sphere and debate, educational reform, governance driven by rankings and technocratic indicators, social movements, law, and gender. Panels will be organized around types of challenges welfare democracies are facing, such as the welfare crises in Eastern and Balkan countries, transnational forms of solidarity in the EU, the new legitimation crisis of political leadership, the social bases of politicisation/depoliticisation, measuring institutional competitiveness and decline, revisiting the Nordic model, and the politics of flexible solidarity.

KEYWORDS: Democracy, European Union, Governance, Migration, Welfare State, Solidarity

Notes from the Political Sociology Section Meeting in Prague

Dear Section members,

Here are notes from the 11/9/2016 Section meeting in Prague. They were initially shared with those who attended the meeting for their corrections and suggestions. We are now sharing them with all of you. Please review in particular the suggestions for themes for the next gathering in Oslo and let us hear your preferences or suggestions for topics not mentioned here. We need to apply to ECPR for a spot on the Oslo program by early November.

Our best wishes,

David and Niilo


Recipients: Dorota Dakowska, François Buton, Oscar Mazzoleni, Hans-Jörg Trenz, Juan Roch Gonzalez, Inan Izci, Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg, Hélène Michel, Carlo Ruzza, Tatjana Sekulic, Marylou Hamm, Sebastian Büttner, Sofia Antunes, Cristiano Gianolla, Frank Borchers, Johannes Kiess, Cristiano Bee, David Swartz, Niilo Kauppi.


1. Discussion concerning the topic of the Section at the next general conference in Oslo. Niilo suggested something around the welfare state, its challenges, a topic that might interest our Nordic colleagues, and others too. Oscar suggested the topic of Welfare chauvinism, and specifically the split between nationals and others. Hans-Jörg for his part thinks something around Challenges to solidarity and welfare would be interesting. Inan suggested a micro-level approach to everyday life politicization. Johannes would like to see something on attitudes, a more sociological perspective. Sebastian mentioned the state, and state practices, the social transformation of the state. Dorota would like to see something on academic research and policy advice. Someone (perhaps Oscar) mentioned populism, the challenges of inequality. Niilo proposed something on the tools of governance, knowledge, indicators and rankings.

We will continue brainstorming online on the topic for the Oslo conference. If you have additional thoughts since our Prague meeting, please share them. Official ECPR deadline for section proposal is mid-November.


2. Niilo and David mentioned that there will be in the future 4000 euros (a sizable increase over previous allocations) for SGs to be used as seed money to start new initiatives for the Section, such as starting a summer school. Alas, the money cannot be used for food and drink as happened in Montréal. David and Niilo will pass on more information when they get it.


3. Discussion concerning publications. There is a new online journal initiative coming out of ECPR and we might participate. But we have little information from the central offices of ECPR on what this might look like. Carlos said he might be interested in being the editor for political sociology but we need to get more information on this project also before doing anything.

Palgrave has a series on European Political Sociology directed by Hans-Jörg and Carlo. Niilo and David are on the editorial board. All are encouraged to submit proposed manuscripts to the editors for review. Manuscripts need to focus on European concerns and be comparative.

There was some discussion on encouraging book (just recent publications) presentations within the Section panels at the GC since there currently is no opportunity for author meets critics sessions except for ECPR Press publications. This would open the opportunity for authors publishing with other presses to present their recent work. Hans-Jörg was critical of this since it does not correspond to the format of the conference and its purpose which is to present new research. Also how would books be selected? Niilo suggested we could send an email to all members of the Sg and ask them to propose books that could be discussed at the GC in Oslo. This way everyone would get a chance to propose something to be discussed. David thinks that books could be selected around a panel theme just as papers are. We agreed that this needs further discussion before implementation.


4. These individuals were unanimously elected for these positions in the SG for two years (2016-2018): Niilo and David chairs, Hélène treasurer, Carlo secretary.

Members of the advisory committee of the SG (2016-2018):

Cristiano Gianolla, Oscar Mazzoleni, Tatjana Sekulic, Hans-Jörg Trenz



ECPR Joint Session 2017: « Transnationalisation of Problems and Agendas: Theoretical and Empirical Challenges »

We would like to make you aware of the Joint Session « Transnationalisation of Problems and Agendas: Theoretical and Empirical Challenges » supported by our standing group. It will be held in Nottingham (25th- 30th April 2017). The topic might be of interest for all members of our group and for other scholars studying the construction and circulation of social problems at national/international level or related issues such as transnational expertise and mobilizations.

Deadline : 1st December 2016.

The proposals should be uploaded on the ECPR website: https://ecpr.eu/Events/PanelList.aspx?EventID=104


How and why some events and topics are transformed into issues focusing public debate, media-attention and policy initiatives? Two different scientific traditions have brought their contributions to these puzzles. Strongly established in political science, the “agenda/s” paradigm maps the changing rankings of political and social issues, questions their interactions. Rooted in sociology, the “social problems” approach pays particular attention to actors who frame their claims successfully. It examines why some stakes become faster “problems” and policy targets.

This workshop opens up a forum to question the legacies, blind spots and possible cross-fertilizations between those research perspectives. Such debate is scientifically wothwhile when processes of transnationalisation and Europeanisation are changing the dynamics of social problems. New opportunities (and threats) linked to environmental changes, migrations and de-territorialisation are redefining supra-national agendas. Claims are travelling across borders, fostered by coalitions of actors internationally organized.

As a growing flow of research questions the internationalisation of social problem framing and policy treatment, as the availability of big data opens up new opportunities for comparative research on agendas the need for bringing these two major paradigms into dialogue is stronger than ever. This aim implies theoretical and empirical contributions.

For both approaches, the recent trends, their relationships and mutual improvements might be highlighted. For example, social problem studies suggest combining quantitative approach of media agendas with more qualitative explorations of news production and sources’ strategies or adding specific agendas to the classical agenda’s trilogy.

Empirical studies should focus on growing internationalised issues, especially “public health” issues (including here struggle against epidemics, risk management, food safety, environmental threats). How do claims on the definition and urgency of diseases travel? Who are the local and transnational actors involved in agenda setting and mobilization processes? How do national cultures, institutional patterns and mediascapes impact the construction of health issues?

Call for Paper Proposals: Austerity and its social and political consequences


Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm / Dr. Tim Griebel / Dr. Thorsten Winkelmann
Chair of Political Science I
Institute of Political Science
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Deadline abstract submissions: 15. September 2016
Length: max. 500 words
Please submit your abstract by e-mail to tim.griebel@fau.de
Decision on abstracts: 30. September 2016
Submission accepted final papers: 15. January 2017

A number of books and articles have been written about the retrenchment of the welfare state caused by austerity policies. There is also a well-informed literature on the role of the EU in the Euro crisis and Germany’s preferences for policies to balance budgets and to reduce public debt. Colleagues have investigated the rise of right-wing, left-wing and populist parties as a consequence of austerity policies. In a special issue of the Zeitschrift für Politik, that will also be published as a peer-reviewed edited volume, we want to shed new light on the redefinition of politics and social relations caused by austerity policies with the help of a multidimensional and pluralistic approach.

The Publication(s) will map different dimensions and “varieties of austerity” within the European Union. It does so by looking at the discursive, social, institutional and material logics of austerity at the polity, politics and the policy level and the broader social relations within particular member states and on the EU level. Not only the phenomenon of austerity is multi-dimensional, but also its normative evaluation and the analytical foci and strategies to deal with it. We therefore follow a pluralistic understanding of science that does not privilege one form of knowledge over the other. Rather we want to sensitize the reader to the effect of different ontological, epistemological and methodological standpoints. Which aspect or kind of austerity we see, depends on the (meta-)theoretical lenses that we look through.

While some contributions might evaluate the phenomenon and the effects of austerity based on the logic of the current European or global political economy, some authors might be critical of this system as such. In addition, some papers might try to combine different dimensions of austerity, others might either focus on one dimension or transcend them altogether. And while some contributions might want to explain some aspect of the phenomenon of austerity in a scientific manner, we also welcome sceptical views of this endeavour that request to question knowledge claims themselves. We are looking for theoretical reflections as well as empirical studies that use quantitative or qualitative methodological tools to analyse austerity.

In particular, we are searching for

  • theoretical or philosophical reflections about the nature of austerity and ist consequences for democracy, society and the state;
  • empirical case studies or comparative analyses about the relationship between austerity and topics like discourses, party politics, party systems, populism and extremism;
  • empirical case studies or comparative analyses about austerity measures in different policies areas;
  • innovative methodological tools to grasp austerity.

This call is open for innovative contributions on the subject of austerity from multiple disciplines. We are very much looking forward to your abstracts!

Prof. Dr. Roland Sturm / Dr. Tim Griebel / Dr. Thorsten Winkelmann