European Political Sociology

Section of the European Sociological Association
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ESA Research Network 32 - Political Sociology

Political Participation and Beyond 
Multi-level dynamics of inclusion/exclusion in times of crisis

Deadline for panel and paper proposals: Tuesday 15 May. 

Political participation is a founding theme of political sociology. In broadest terms, it refers to all forms and activities through which individuals or collectives express opinions and also exert influence on decisions that are of common concern. While concerned with apathy, abstention and “exit”, political sociology has also described and categorized a broad and ever-changing repertoire of citizen (and non citizen) voice, i.e. activism and formal or informal involvement whether individual/collective, manifest/latent, institutionalized/unconventional, direct/mediated, online/offline.

In an age of globalization and multilevel (local, national, supranational, global) networking of collective decision-making processes, in which social and political boundaries are being reshaped and new dynamics of social and political inclusion and exclusion are emerging, this scope of political participation is potentially wider and rapidly changing. One may wonder if participation is heightened in times of crisis, which favour more exclusive forms of governance and tend to mobilise new forms of protest, or on the contrary generates anomie.

The aim of this conference is to explore the extended scope of political participation in relation to transnational government arrangements and processes. Within this broad theme, all crucial concepts of political sociology are embraced. These include: challenged legitimisation of democratic representative institutions; changing power relationships between citizens and the state; the making of a new political order across the interaction of macro- and micro-level actors; the battle for cultural, social, and institutional change involving networked individuals and organized groups at local, national and global levels.

A number of key contemporary political and social phenomena can therefore be analysed from a political participation perspective:


• Globalizing forms of protest and new forms of political mobilization 
• Changing interactions between public opinion, political elites, mainstream media, and social media 
• The plebiscitary nature of leader-followers relationships as regards populist parties
• Party primary elections and campaigning 
• New patterns of electoral turnout and volatility 
• Citizens’ deliberations and experiments in participatory democracy 
• The emergence of a new political cleavage along the nationalism vs. cosmopolitanism value dimensions 
• The ongoing conflict over norms of citizenship 
• Processes of agenda-setting and the role of migrants’ organizations in key policy areas 
• Political dimensions of immigrant integration and the politics of voting rights 
• Urban governance and urban conflicts


Proposals can relate to all levels of – local to global – mobilization and participation in the polity. Studies employing a European comparative perspective or EU-wide framework, that address the multi-level dimension of participation, or discuss more recent challenges to citizens’ participation and legitimacy in times of financial and economic crisis are particularly welcome.

Conference Venue and Organisation

The conference will take place on Friday 30 November (whole day) and Saturday 1 December (morning session only). It will be hosted by the Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan (Italy). The Department is located in the centre of Milan.  

To encourage participation by a broad range of early career researchers and experienced academics, there is no registration fee.

To register, please write to with the following information: name, position, affiliation with postal address, country, email address and dietary preferences.

Abstracts Submission

Both panel proposals and individual paper proposals are encouraged.

For panel proposals please submit a short description of the theme of the panel and at least three individual paper abstracts.

The deadline for panel and paper proposals has been extended to Tuesday 15 May.

Please submit abstracts of max 200 words to Mauro Barisione and Cristian Norocel at:

The conference committee will notify applicants by 15 June.

Hotels and Leisure Time Activities

 For hotels and sightseeing information please consult the  Organisers' website in Milan

Contacts & Info

Local Coordinator: Mauro Barisione

Assistant Coordinator: Cristian Norocel



Address: Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche, Via Conservatorio, 7 - 20122 Milano (Italy) Fax: +39 02 503 21240