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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

The Complex Spaces and Engines of Political Participation: Urban, Legal, Media and Virtual Spaces

Political Methodology
Political Participation
Political Cultures
Section Number
Section Chair
Camelia Florela Voinea
University of Bucharest
Section Co-Chair
Ganka Cvetanova
University of Ss Cyril And Methodius

During the past decade, European societies have revealed a strong contrasting political behavior, from apathy in exercising their voting rights to the strong political participative behavior of both political parties and civil society organizations. From the dynamics of the political and civic attitudes toward Brexit and a long-awaited EU reform to the advance of illiberalism in the CEE countries, the European political landscape has been impacted by the political turmoil fueled by multiple crises: migration and climate change, populism and nationalism, terrorism, political violence and conflicts, globalization and superpowers.

Classic models of political participation have often associated social influence forces with propaganda studies in order to explain the mechanisms of either reinforcing or diminishing the political participation of individual citizens, groups and communities. Innovative technologies of communication and interaction covering almost everything we know from mobile phones to socializing networks and social media shows have definitely shifted the interest toward paradigms of participation which are more based on interaction achieved by means of symbol construction and symbol conveying through advanced technologies of sensing, representing and abstracting interactions of individuals, groups, and even large masses of people at the level of entire societies.

Political cultures of participation are combining nowadays enduring (traditional) legacies with the legacies of the recent past and the hard-mark of the present times in achieving a substantial flexibility in facing the challenges of the innovative technologies of the artificial, of wireless communication and, least but not last, of symbol and attitude emergence in high-sensitive, non-equilibrium social and political contexts All over the world – North-, as well as South-America, Europe, Asia or Africa – the political culture of participation and collective action has provided the arena for political confrontation, extremism or radical societal and institutional changes.

Our Section aims to cover both empirical and generative studies of political culture dynamics under the societal pressure of employing the innovative technologies in the management of any public issue – be it civic or political – from the upmost level of the polity to the most intimate emotional level of the individual identity, preferences, values, beliefs and attitudes. The most intriguing research questions are those concerning the nature of change in political culture and its operationalization in both quantitative (measurement) and qualitative (evaluative) forms.

No matter if old and new, the research questions to be answered are concerning several essential dimensions:
- Urban architectural landscapes. Urban spaces change dynamics, and their impact on the characteristics and intensity of political protests in Eastern and Central European countries during the past decade (2008-2018);
- Socializing Networks and Outdoors Media Shows. Socializing networks as vectors of massive, fast mobilization, the new media show technologies (laser shows, outdoors shows, media shows on the buildings facades, etc.) and their impact on political symbol and identity construction;
- Decision-Making Environments, Institutional and Polity Instability. Decision-making environments, institutional dynamics and polity (in)stability phenomena as reflected by the dynamics of collective perceptions, opinions, attitudes and behaviors, value and beliefs (ideology) sensitivity to social and political context;
- Legal Environments. Legal systems and legal requirements engineering as generative matrices of law and institutions, and their roles in the emergence of political and civic participation phenomena from consensus to violence and conflict.

Our Section addresses conceptual contributions approaching the impact of such complex engines of social, cultural and political influences on reinforcing/decreasing the interest of people in various forms of political participation, both peaceful and contentious. Our Section aims, at the same time, to promote methodological research approaches to these issues from classic survey research to agent-based models and systems, complex adaptive systems, and social collective intelligence.

The panels in this section are aimed to explore the methodological research issues underlying various phenomena of political participation from voting to volunteer’s dilemma or collective action. Moreover, the methodological research is currently undergoing profound paradigmatic shifts from the classic survey research to the complexity of the internet realm. To open the debates so as to cover as much as possible of the target domains, the proposed panels have identified at least four spaces of political participation and its dynamics: the city (urban space), the socializing networks (web realms), the decision-making environments (institutional spaces) and legal systems (legal realm). We expect that this topical focus will facilitate discussions that are methodological coherent, combining interdisciplinary approaches, and innovative.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P274Political Participation in the CEE Societies: From the Optimism of Accession to EU to Euroscepticism View Panel Details
P276Political Perceptions, Political Preferences and their Role in Decision-Making Environments View Panel Details
P388The Interrelated Dynamics of Urban Environments, Social Media and Political Participation View Panel Details
P420The Role of Law and Institutions in the Legal Practice and Legal Requirements Dynamics View Panel Details
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