Research Workshop

Challenges of Democratic Innovations in Europe: Citizens, Politicians and Institutions

Center for Social Sciences Budapest, 23-25 September 2021

In democratic political systems, the main actors of representative democracy are party leaders, elected parliamentarians and cabinet members. In addition to these, there are other ways of decision-making in a democratic political system such as participatory and deliberative democracy. These involve citizens and non-governmental organizations that aim to improve the social acceptance and effectiveness of political decisions. Research on democratic innovations focuses on successful practices and methods aimed at changing democratic governance and political structures to improve them. Such innovations range from direct democracy (e.g. referendums, agenda initiatives, recall) to deliberative practices (e.g. deliberative polling, consultative mini-publics, participatory budgeting etc.) in offline and online settings.


To better understand the complexity of this picture, it is important to take a close look at the causes, functioning or effects of democratic innovations. The workshop aims to bring together researchers discussing developments of any form of democratic innovation (including those within political parties) in Europe either with emphasis on single-case studies or in a comparative perspective. The workshop will provide the space for an academic debate in which scholars can present the most recent findings of their research. The event will be interdisciplinary and addresses scholars from Political Science, Sociology, History and European Studies. A variety of perspectives and approaches will be encouraged. 

Image by Kate Kasiutich

Target Group and Workshop Structure

The workshop will seek to attract a mix of established scholars, early-career researchers, and PhD students conducting research on the topic. To increase the exchange of ideas, each paper giver (in total 20 participants) will serve as discussant for another paper.

The workshop will be organized for three days (23-25 September) and each presenter will be allocated 35 minutes: 10 minutes to present the paper, 5 minutes for the discussant, and 20 minutes for general discussion. 

The organizers cover the accommodation costs for three nights, meals and local transport for all participants. Participants are expected to cover their travel costs to and from Budapest. There is no conference fee. 

Daniel Oross, Center for Social Sciences Budapest 
Sergiu Gherghina, University of Glasgow

Application procedure

Please fill in the application form available here until 15 June 2021. Early applications are strongly encouraged, while submissions after the deadline will not be considered.

Planned outcomes

Depending on the homogeneity of the papers, a special issue in an international peer-reviewed journal or an edited book may be feasible. 

Workshop Venue

HAS Centre for Social Sciences
Tóth Kálmán str. 4. 
1097 Budapest (Hungary)

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