Call for paper/panel proposals

Political Theory and Democratic Failures

Political Theory Standing group Section, ECPR General Conference (University of Innsbruck, 22-26.08.2022).

Deadline: 16 February 2022

Section details (including currently approved panels) available at

Section themes include: 

  • Populism and the polarisation of the electorate 
  • The influence of private capital on public institutions 
  • The fragility of the party system and participation deficit 
  • The role of expertise and the threat of technocracy 
  • The erosion of trust and civic friendship 
  • Growing inequalities and the failure of social integration 

Section chairsEmanuela Ceva (University of Geneva) and Maria Paola Ferretti (Goethe University Frankfurt)

To submit a pape or a panel (including 3/5 papers) proposal, please login with your MyECPR credentials at





Appel à contribution | Call for Papers

Entre idéaux et réalités institutionnelles

Ideals and Institutions

Deuxième rencontre du Réseau francophone de théorie politique normative
Second meeting of the Francophone Network of Normative Political Theory

Université de Lausanne | University of Lausanne
7-8 juin | June 2022

Les organisatrices de la deuxième rencontre du Réseau francophone de théorie politique normative sollicitent des contributions portant sur quatre interrogations spécifiques :

  1. L’ordre social exige-t-il, de la part des acteurs politiques, une conformité parfaite aux règles institutionnelles ?
  2. La définition des idéaux politiques devrait-elle également tenir compte des contraintes de faisabilité ?
  3. Quels arrangements institutionnels sont fondés sur un idéal, et lesquels sont le résultat de concessions à la réalité ?
  4. Quels idéaux politiques devraient être au premier plan de l'évaluation normative des institutions publiques ?

Nous invitons à proposer des contributions traitant d'une ou plusieurs des questions ci-dessus avant le 15 février 2022, à l’adresse électronique suivante : sandrine.baume(at) Les résumés ne doivent pas dépasser 500 mots ; ils peuvent être rédigés en français ou en anglais. Les papiers sélectionnés pourront être soumis en anglais ou en français, mais seront présentés en français dans le cadre de la conférence.

Les professeurs Candice Delmas (Northeastern University) et Daniel Weinstock (McGill University) seront les keynote speakers de la conférence.

Cet événement, accueilli par le Centre de droit public (Université de Lausanne), est co-organisé par Sandrine Baume (Université de Lausanne) et Emanuela Ceva (pour le Geneva Colloquium in Political Theory--GECOPL, Université de Genève). Il est financé par un Scientific Exchanges Grant du Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique (FNS).

The organizers of the second meeting of the Francophone Network for Normative Political Theory invite contributions broadly addressing the following four specific questions:

  1. Does social order require perfect conformity to institutional rules on the part of political actors?
  2. Should the normative characterization of political ideals consider also feasibility constraints?
  3. Which institutional arrangements are grounded in exercises of idealization, and which ones have resulted from concessions to reality?
  4. Which political ideals should be in the foreground for the normative assessment of public institutions?
We invite scholars wishing to present a paper on one or more of the topics above to submit an abstract by February 15, 2022, to the following email address: sandrine.baume(at) Abstracts should not exceed 500 words; they can be written in French or in English. Selected papers may be submitted in English or French, but will be presented in French at the conference.
Professors Candice Delmas (Northeastern University) and Daniel Weinstock (McGill University) will be the conference keynote speakers.
This event, hosted by the Centre for Public Law (University of Lausanne), is co-organized by Sandrine Baume (Lausanne) and Emanuela Ceva (for the Geneva Colloquium in Political Theory--GECOPL, University of Geneva). It is funded by a Scientific Exchanges Grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Appel à contribution se trouve ici | Call for Papers is availabe here 






III Geneva Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy
17-18 February 2022
The Department of Political Science & International Relations of the University of Geneva is proud to announce the third edition of the Geneva Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy organized within the framework of the Geneva Colloquium in Political Theory (GECOPOL). The GECOPOL_Graduate will take place on 17-18 February 2022. We are planning a hybrid conference, with a large number of presentations delivered in person. The exact format and rules of attendance will be adapted and communicated in view of the evolution of the global sanitary situation.

The conference is a forum for PhD students to present their works in progress, receive constructive feedback in a supportive atmosphere, and exchange ideas both with peers and with leading academics in the field of political philosophy worldwide. The GECOPOL_Graduate is structured in parallel sessions for students’ presentations, and two plenary sessions hosting two keynote lectures. The keynote speakers in the past editions were Ralf Bader (Université de Fribourg), Francis Cheneval (Zürich), Fabienne Peter (Warwick), and Lea Ypi (London School of Economics and Political Science). This year’s keynote speakers are:
Sandrine Baume (Université de Lausanne)
Jason Brennan (Georgetown University)
PhD students may express their interest in presenting papers at the GECOPOL_Graduate by sending an extended abstract of their intended contribution (max 1500 words – in English) accompanied by a short abstract (max 200 words – in English) and a curriculum vitae, by 30 October 2021. Paper proposals may focus on any area within political philosophy and should be suitable for a twenty-minute presentation. Both the short and the extended abstract must be anonymized for blind review. The submission of paper proposals is open to graduate students enrolled in a PhD programme at the time of submission. Conference attendance is free of charge and open to anyone upon registration. Accepted participants are responsible for seeking funds to cover their expenses. Details about the conference programme and other arrangements regarding the onsite logistic and online access to the various activities to follow. The working language of the GECOPOL_Graduate is English.

All correspondence (including paper submissions and additional inquiries) should be addressed to the GECOPOL_Graduate email address: gecopol(at)

For more information on the GECOPOL activities, please see our website and Facebook page:






Call for Papers

Vested Interests and Democracy

 Research Workshop

with a keynote lecture by Prof. Emanuela Ceva (University of Geneva)

Dates: Thursday, December 9 and Friday, December 10, 2021

Location: University of Zurich, Switzerland

Co-hosted by the Doctoral Programme Democracy Studies and DemocracyNet


Organized by

Olivier Ruchet (University of Zurich, Department of Political Science) and

Odile Ammann (University of Lausanne, Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Administration)


 Topic of the Workshop

The institutions and mechanisms of democratic politics make it possible for a variety of interests to be included in decision-making and law-making processes. This can happen through formal processes like public consultations and formal hearings, but also through informal contacts between interest holders/interest representatives and political decision-makers. Yet, in the past decades, the regular occurrence of corruption scandals and lobbying affairs (such as, most recently, the COVID-19 mask affair in the German Bundestag) have fueled public distrust in democratic politics. Skeptical voices have argued that contemporary democracies are broken or corrupt because politicians are subservient to a narrow circle of societal actors instead of serving the public interest. Although the complexity of modern democratic politics may justify that politicians seek input from interest groups, the potentially excessive influence of such groups raises concerns about the integrity of politics and political decision-makers. The blurred line between legitimate interests that are a necessary component of democratic politics and illegitimate (“vested”) interests that corrupt democracy and the political discourses and practices surrounding it will be at the center of this workshop.


The aim of this workshop is to explore the role of (“vested”) interests in a democracy and to highlight the manifold theoretical and empirical issues that this topic raises from the perspective of democracy studies broadly defined, such as:

- What does an “interest” mean conceptually? To what extent does it differ from related concepts, such as “opinions” and “perspectives”? Is there such a thing as a “public interest”, the “common good” and, finally, “vested interests”? How are these various concepts defined philosophically, legally, etc.?

- Can qualitative and quantitative empirical approaches help us operationalize and measure the aforementioned concepts? What can these approaches tell us about political decision-makers’ (“vested”) interests?

- Who are the actors who hold and who represent interests in a democracy? How can these interests be identified? Are the interests of ordinary citizens, civil society organizations, corporate actors, trade unions, political parties, public officials, non-citizens, foreign actors, and non-human entities (e.g., animals and the environment) equally important from the perspective of democratic decision-making, or should they be weighed differently?

- What does the critique of vested interests (e.g. corruption, lobbying, and state capture) tell us about democratic politics? What are the normative criteria that make it possible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate interests/interest representation in democratic politics? At what stage do interests corrupt democracy?

- What influences the success or failure of specific interest holders/interest representatives in democratic politics, e.g. in terms of agenda-setting, articulating and defending viewpoints, and gaining the support of political decision-makers? What legal and institutional mechanisms enable the inclusion or exclusion of specific interests? How does interest representation differ in democratic and non-democratic contexts?

- What institutional arrangements can help to prevent the emergence of vested interests and to include other relevant interests in democratic politics?


This workshop aims at bringing together researchers from various disciplines (including, but not limited to, political science and political theory, law, philosophy, history, and sociology) in academic discussions about the topic of the workshop. The aim of the workshop is for early career researchers (including PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers) to present their working papers or project proposals and to gain feedback from all participants as well as from senior scholars. Last but not least, we are delighted to announce that the workshop will also include a public keynote lecture by Prof. Emanuela Ceva (University of Geneva).


General Information and Guidelines for Participation

The research workshop is part of the Doctoral Programme Democracy Studies (DPDS) at the University of Zurich and is organized by DemocracyNet. The workshop is open to early career researchers (including PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers) working in this field. We encourage applications from researchers from a broad range of disciplines who are interested in democracy studies in general, and in the study of interest groups and interest representation in particular. Each participant is invited to present a current research paper, which will be shared with the participants ahead of the workshop. Participants are expected to attend the whole workshop.

We aim to hold the workshop physically at the University of Zurich. However, further adjustments may be necessary due to the epidemiological situation.

Doctoral students may be awarded 1 ECTS for successful participation. Conditions for participation include attendance at the entire workshop (including the keynote), active participation, and the provision, ahead of the workshop, of written feedback to two speakers.



Researchers interested in participating as presenters can apply by sending an abstract of up to 500 words and a short CV to olivier.ruchet(at) by Friday, September 10.

Researchers interested in attending the workshop without presenting can apply by sending an email to olivier.ruchet(at) by Friday, October 1. As the number of spots is limited, the selection will be on a first come, first served basis.


Costs and Grants

The workshop is free of charge. As a matter of principle, travel and accommodation are at the expense of participants. We will do our best to cover the travel and accommodation costs of a small number of participants who cannot get funding via their institution. Please contact us as soon as possible if you would require such funding.


Further Information

DemocracyNet is a non-partisan and non-profit association of researchers in democracy studies that was founded in 2011. For more information about DemocracyNet, its members and other project activities, please visit





Call for Abstracts

 Institutional Trustworthiness

MANCEPT Workshops, 7 - 8 September 2021

Convenors: Emanuela Ceva, Michele Bocchiola and Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva)

What does it mean that a public institution is trustworthy? The contemporary philosophical debate in institutional theory offers two main resources to delineate the contours of institutional trustworthiness. One resource, widely accepted across the social sciences, comes from the competence view of public institutions. Public institutions are defined by their capacity actually to fulfil the function and achieve the purpose for which they were created. In this view, institutional trustworthiness can be investigated by adopting an ‘exogenous perspective’, which analyses the external reactions to institutional functioning and its failure (e.g., citizens’ trust in representative institutions). Another resource comes from looking at public institutions through a deontological lens, which focuses on the normative commitments that model and guide the actions of institutional members. In this view, we access an ‘endogenous perspective’ on institutional trustworthiness, which focuses on the internal reactions of officeholders to institutional functioning and its failure (e.g., officeholders’ disobedience). This panel aims to discuss institutional trustworthiness from a philosophical perspective; analyze its conceptual and normative grounds; compare and contrast various normative views of institutional trustworthiness. Papers will engage, inter alia, with such themes as:

  • the conceptual links between institutional (dys)functions and institutional trustworthiness;
  • the normative relation between internal answerability practices (e.g. transparency requirements, whistleblowing) and institutional trustworthiness;
  • the difference between responsive and reliable institutions and trustworthy institutions;
  • the relation between institutional trustworthiness and other significant properties of public institutions, such as integrity, accountability, or transparency. 



Abstract (500 words max), anonymized for blind review, should be submitted to michele.bocchiola(at) by 2nd May 2021. Notification of acceptance will be sent within two weeks.

Papers will be pre-circulated 10 days prior to the event.

Registration for the conference opens in May. All participants must register in order to attend. This year’s fees are:

-        Academics: £45

-        Graduate students, retirees, and unaffiliated attendees: £20

-        Non-speaker/non-presenting attendees: £15

Mancept will offer a small number of fee waiver bursaries. The deadline for bursary applications (available to current graduate students only) will be the 15th June, and successful applicants will be informed by the 22nd June. Only people accepted to present on a panel should apply for bursaries.