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The European Union and Beyond

Continuity and Change in Southern European Politics

Democracy
 
Elections
 
Governance
 
Political Economy
 
Political Participation
 
Political Parties
 
Public Policy
 
Southern Europe
 
Section Number
S18
Section Chairs
Stavroula Chrona
Kings College London
Bonnie Field
Bentley University
Section Co-Chair

Abstract
The Great Recession, beginning approximately a decade ago, and the responses to it transformed Southern Europe politically, socially and economically. For good reason, much of the research in recent years has focused on examining these important changes. Yet, there are also significant continuities in particular national contexts, variation in the patterns or degree of change/continuity across countries in southern Europe, and, in some instances, a return to practices and dynamics that characterized politics prior to the Great Recession.

The Section seeks to offer a wide-ranging program that investigates the patterns of continuity and change across the region and in specific national contexts. Geographically, the Section will cover Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.

The Section welcomes contributions employing a range of disciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches. It invites proposals for panels and papers the cover the region comparatively and single-country case studies. We also welcome papers that significantly advance the understanding of southern Europe by comparing it to other world regions. We are particularly interested in papers that present innovative and theoretically grounded empirical work. We also strongly encourage pedagogical papers on teaching southern Europe.

In addition to themes that cross a number of areas, such as (de)-Europeanisation and migration, a non-exclusive list of possible areas for investigation might include:

Governance, Governments and Political Leadership
To what degree have governments or governance become less (more) effective? Have political actors experimented with novel governing formulas, or have they stuck with past practices? To what degree have the style, composition and traits of political leadership persisted? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Quality of Democracy
To what degree has southern Europe experienced democratic backsliding/deepening, or do the regimes have similar strengths and weaknesses as in the pre-crisis period? What types of political reforms have been enacted? Which ones stalled, stymied or avoided? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Political Parties and Party Systems
To what degree have new political parties or party families become politically relevant (in elections or in the political institutions)? Or have ‘old’ parties continued to thrive? How have the newcomers’ fortunes evolved over time or cross nationally? How or how well have the new or old parties adapted to the competitive environment? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Elections and Voting
To what degree has voting behaviour changed or persisted? Has electoral participation declined, increased, remained at pre-crisis levels? Who votes and for which parties? What drives party choice? Can we still speak of the traditional cleavages driving voting behaviour? Are there new type of cleavages due to (de)-Europeanisation? Is populism (both left and right) on the rise, or has it peaked? Why? What types of electoral reforms, if any, have been enacted? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Political Economy
To what extent has the financial crisis changed the political economy of Southern Europe? What changes did the structural reforms bring at the national level and what do they mean for the EU? What are the effects of the structural reforms in the labour market and the market system? Have these countries returned to growth as expected through devaluation and fiscal consolidation or is there decline? How did the crisis and its aftermath affect levels of inequality, inclusion, poverty and social mobility? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Public Policy
What are the main effects of the Eurocrisis in the area of public policy? Can we still speak of a social Europe? What is the domestic impact of the public policy of the European Union? What lessons can we learn about the Europeanisation of public policy from Southern Europe? And what is the main driver and key consequences of de-Europeanization? We welcome proposals on a variety of policy areas including environmental and climate change, health, education, etc. What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Political Attitudes
To what extend have citizens’ attitudes changed in the post crisis period? Can we speak of the formation of a new set of attitudinal orientations, or the persistence of longstanding ones? What are the underlying trends and causes of political disaffection, reactionism, radicalism, cynicism, indifference? What drives populist support? And what are the implications of these attitudes? What challenges do they pose to the democratic basis of southern Europe? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

Social Actors and Political Participation beyond Voting
What are the changes or continuities in citizens’ repertoire in political participation? What are the channels of participation that are more prevalent? Who participates and what drives participation? What are the organizational characteristics of new forms of activism and how do they mobilize the public? Have they been successful in terms of mobilization? We welcome papers that look at all types of activism including social, political and environmental activism as well as online activism. What are the trends and causes of disengagement, where it exists? What explains the patterns of change and continuity comparatively in southern Europe or in a specific national context? What are the consequences?

The Section is proposed on behalf of the ECPR Standing Group in Southern European Politics and welcomes proposals for panels and papers from members and non-members of the Group.

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