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Democratic Representation in Crisis: what kinds of theories for what kinds of research, and to what ends?

Democratic Representation

Tuesday 9 (Villa la Pietra (NYU)/) and Wednesday 10 (Villa la Fonte (MWP)) April 2013

Joint conference by NYU-Florence/NYU Liberal Studies and the Max Weber Programme, EUI


Voter ID laws and a creaking Electoral College in the United States, street protests against a democratic deficit in Brussels, Rome and Athens, increasingly noisy praise for authoritarian capitalism in Singapore and Beijing – the contemporary political world is confronted with the nature and limits of democratic representation. The La Pietra Dialogues at NYU-Florence have regularly probed these issues of late, with distinguished scholars leading sessions on dissent, the euro crisis and the US elections. The Max Weber Programme at the EUI, meanwhile, is home to post-doctoral scholars across four disciplines and from around the globe. Their research this year is concerned with judicial independence, migrant labor rights, trans-national social movements and constitutional law, to name just a few areas that bear on the question of democratic representation.

This multi-disciplinary conference, co-sponsored by the La Pietra Dialogues and the Max Weber Programme, brings together invited senior scholars, Max Weber Fellows and the NYU-Florence community, in a joint La Pietra Dialogues-Max Weber Programme conversation. The two-day conference will focus on how political and philosophical theories of democratic representation inform empirical social scientific research. For example, what can recent theories of global justice and democracy offer a political-scientist who researches Internet campaign fund-raising? What is a reasonable minimum condition for a government to be classified as ‘democratic’ or ‘representative’ of its citizens, and how can the social sciences help to answer this question with respect to any given state? Finally, how do such debates fit into contemporary political situations and scholarly practice?

These and other questions will be addressed in a two-day conference comprising six panels in total and held at Villa La Pietra and Villa La Fonte. In each panel, a senior invited guest and a Max Weber Fellow will give papers that enter into theoretical-empirical dialogue on a specific aspect of our broader rubric.

Confirmed senior guests include:

  • Donatella della Porta, Professor of Sociology, SPS Department, EUI
  • Philippe Schmitter, Emeritus Professor, EUI
  • Alessandro Pizzorno, Emeritus Professor, EUI
  • Joshua Tucker, Professor of Politics, New York University 
  • Daniel Viehoff, University of Sheffield 

Call for papers (pdf)

Conference Programme (pdf)


Brendan Hogan, NYU-Florence & Simon Jackson, MWP, EUI 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017

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