Call for panel contributions, “Exploring the concepts and mechanisms of participatory and radical democracy in the 21st Century”, CADAAD 2016, Catania, 5-7 Sept.

(with apologies for cross-postings)

Dear all,

Please find below a call for panel contributions that might be of interest to you. The panel, convened by Tom Bartlett and Nicolina Montesano Montessori will take place during the next edition of CADAAD, in Catania, next September. The deadline for submission is 10 January 2016.

Other panels are announced on the conference website.

With our best wishes,

Your ACDC conveners

Panel Proposal to be presented at the CADAAD 2016, University of Catania, 5-7 September 2016
Conveners: Tom Bartlett (Cardiff University) and Nicolina Montesano Montessori (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences)

“Exploring the concepts and mechanisms of participatory and radical democracy in the 21st Century.”

DEADLINE: 10th January. Submission to Tom Bartlett <>

The transition from late modernity to the digital era has brought to the public imagination not only the limits of representative democracy but also the various movements to enhance popular participation globally. Problems have become so complex that it is not to be expected that they can be resolved by politicians alone, while the capacity of political parties to represent the people, both majorities and minorities, is increasingly called into question in the public arena. In this panel we will explore responses to this crisis of representation in both theory and action.

The popularisation of democratic processes takes various forms: grassroots and bottom-up movements challenging the political status quo, often with an emphasis on economic reform, have appeared in the form of 15 M and the Cooperatives Integrales in Cataluña and popular protests in the Middle East; there are moves to decentralise decision-making power in the European Union, and the UK in particular; and elected leaders, such as Bolivia’s Morales, have laid claim to a more authentic representation of the ‘voice’ of the people. Examples with a longer tradition include townhall meetings in the US and referenda in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Such movements have been mirrored in political theory, where the concept of radical democracy, as developed by Laclau and Mouffe (1985) and further explored by Torfing (1990) and Hajer & Versteeg (2006), has been a topic of much debate. Laclau and Mouffe spoke of the primacy of politics, while more recent global trends suggest we may now be living in an era of the primacy of the economy, where popular voice is increasingly marginalised, and in this panel we explore examples of radical or participatory democracy which run counter to this development and may help pave the way for civil emancipation.

Papers on this theme from a range of theoretical and applied perspectives are welcome, particularly those that demonstrate the impact of (local) moves towards participatory democracy or provide examples of participatory (action) research in this area.

All papers will be allocated 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions. The language of the conference is English.

Abstracts of 250-350 words excluding references should be sent as MS Word attachment to and, before 10 January 2016. Please include in the body of the email but not in the abstract itself (1) your name, (2) affiliation and (3) email address. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by 1 March 2016.

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