DEMOCRACY IN DEVELOPMENT: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES ON THE GOVERNANCE OF THE PUBLIC GOOD

1/2017

The theme of this issue incorporates two distinct but complementary interpretations of democracy/democratization, public good, and of the relation between them. 

The first one focuses on changes in the ways we define, conceptualize, and understand democracy, not only as researchers, but also as citizens.

The literature on democracy / democratization has developed significantly over the last years and the availability of new instruments for measuring democracy can only help in advancing further the research agenda on these topics.

At the same time, the citizens themselves are increasingly critical with respect to the practical implementation of democratic principles and they try to identify alternative solutions to the dysfunctional situations they identify.

Furthermore, the advancement of and access to digital technologies, especially social media, have also transformed the public space and the traditional relations between the State and the individual.

These transformations triggered substantial changes in areas previously almost completely outside the reach of public control, such as foreign policy and international cooperation for development, reshaping the limits of accountability in democratic public policy-making and challenging in new ways the non-democratic regimes.

The second interpretation focuses on the rise and falls of democracy both at supra-national and sub-national levels, transcending the traditional national sphere of politics and policy-making.

In recent years we have witnessed a democratic decline as well as increased authoritarian/populist tendencies across Europe, Latin America and Asia, often discursively related to trans-national contexts, such as the migratory/refugee fluxes and the mismanagement of public funds through international arrangements.

We have also witnessed a decreasing level of public trust in both educated expertise and traditional democratic politics, as well as a decreasing level of civility in political debates, most surprisingly in more consolidated democracies, with the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential elections, for instance, making global headlines for months for such reasons.

Similarly, the enthusiasm generated by the “Arab Spring” has quickly transformed in disappointment following the failure of these protest movements.

By contrast, states in Sub-Saharan Africa have registered significant progress on their democratization path.

At the same time, an ambitious global agenda – The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN member states after arguably one of the most complex exercises in public consultation at global level, includes specific targets on achieving, preserving and advancing democracy and rule of law, which requires governmental and inter-governmental commitments for the next fifteen years.

Not least, at sub-national level, the increasing pressures the citizens have brought on the political system are also leading to significant changes in conducting national and international politics and policy-making, depending on the system’s ability to listen and implement them.

Aiming to explore such scholarly and policy puzzles from various conceptual, empirical and methodological perspectives, while addressing timely case-studies, we invite scholars across different disciplines to submit papers, forums or book reviews, especially (but not exclusively) around the following core topics:
  • Democracy and democratization as subject for contemporary political theory;
  • Populism, social movements and electoral behaviour in the age of social media;
  • The role of local politics in shaping national and trans-national democratic institutions;
  • The role of digital technology and social media in contemporary international politics;
  • Democratic accountability and the new global agenda of sustainable development (SDGs);
  • Democracy and the European Union today;
  • Conflict, security and democracy;
  • Transitional justice;
  • Comparative perspectives on civic education;
  • Methodological opportunities and challenges in approaching issues related to democracy and democratization.

Manuscripts formatted in the journal’s editorial style may be sent to analeFSPUB@fspub.unibuc.ro by the 30th of November 2016 (except for participants at the SCOPE: Science of Politics 2017 - 4th International Interdisciplinary Conference of Political Research, www.scienceofpolitics.eu, for which the deadline is 30 May 2017).