Watch highlights from our recent General Conference in Oslo


Johan P OlsenMany of you will have joined us for last week's General Conference, but for those of you who couldn't make it to Oslo, we've uploaded two Roundtables, along with the Welcome Address and Plenary Lecture, to our YouTube channel

Plenary lecture – Democratic Accountability and the Changing European Political Order

Speaker Johan P Olsen University of Oslo

Ongoing transformations of the political organisation of Europe, where both the nation-state and the European Union are challenged, make it possible to explore phenomena that are difficult to see in more stable periods. The upsurge of accountability-demands, where political leaders are required to explain and justify what they are doing and not doing, is one such phenomenon.

Assuming stable principal-agent relations may give insight into the routines of institutional accountability. But it is not enough to analyse how accountability processes contribute to routinised maintenance of an established order within relatively stable, simple, and well-known situations. We need to understand accountability in eras of institutional confusion and contestation and in dynamic, complex, and unknown situations.

  • University AulaFirst, variations in the relations between democratic accountability and political association, organisation, and agency are endogenous to democratic politics and government.
  • Second, accountability processes take place within both settled and unsettled orders. They can be both order-maintaining and order-transforming.
  • Third, accountability involves sense-making as well as decision-making.
  • Fourth, accountability may attract public attention and involve mass mobilisation or go on largely unnoticed by the public.
  • Fifth, accountability processes may or may not foster new ideas about political order, democratic government, and the role of rank-and-file citizens in political life. They may or may not foster democracy as a particular form of political community, organisation, and governance and affect what democracy will mean and imply in the future.

Roundtable – Equality in Recession? Transnational Developments

Mari Teigen Johanna KantolaThis Roundtable takes stock of contradictory tendencies in gender+ equality norm and policy development in crisis times. Among other things, it looks at core meanings of equality, research insights from IR and comparative politics, patterns of resistance and backlash to gender+ equality, and ways of mapping, analysing and theorising opposition.


Mari Teigen Institute for Social Research, Oslo
Johanna Kantola University of Helsinki


Anne Phillips LSE
Phillip Ayoub Drexel University
Mona Lena Krook Rugters NJ
Mieke Verloo Radboud Nijmegen

Maurizio FerreraRoundtable – The Future of European Welfare States

Although the crisis in European welfare states following the 2008 financial meltdown was a consequence of the financial crisis, it became progressively portrayed as its cause. This Roundtable looks at how European welfare states responded to austerity measures, and whether they can survive the continuing economic fallout.


Kees van Kersbergen Aarhus University


Marius Busemeyer University of Konstanz
Maurizio Ferrera University of Milan
Silja Häusermann University of Zurich
Anton Hemerijck Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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"Man is by nature a political animal" - Aristotle

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