Jan 29, 2014

CfP: Eclectic meanings of party membership in Southeastern Europe

SCOPE International conference of Political Research, Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest, 27-29 June 2014 
(www.scienceofpolit ics.eu http://www.scienceo fpolitics. eu/) 

The literature on post-communist parties highlighted the ab origine disenchantment with politics (either in terms of identification or membership) and a drastic decline in the electoral turnout. In parallel, parties seemed to have, more or less voluntarily, downgraded their classic expressive and representative functions (Van Biezen et al. 2012) and cemented, as in the Western democracies&# 39; case, their bond to the State and their role as governing agencies. Still, far from being uniform, the configuration of party grassroots in post-communist Europe testifies to a plurality of anatomies and various meanings of party membership roles (Spirova 2005, Ionascu and Soare 2012). Besides, the enrolment figures, the various organisational arrangements unveil various definitions of party members: their codification according to party laws, parties' statutes, etc. 

A closer look at the European democracies suggests a multi-speed process of organisational convergence. At different paces and intensity, the ECE parties reproduced the organizational development of Western parties compliant with the downgrading role of active membership. Is this also the case of the EU neighbouring countries? Are the parties in the Eastern Europe or Western Balkans slowly following similar patterns of party development when compared to ECE or the Western democracies? Starting from these questions, the panel aims to investigate the association between membership trends and party organizational adaptation by focusing on the multifaceted notion of party membership in European neighbourhood contexts. Three main dimensions are taken into consideration: enrolment figures as source of legitimacy, the codification of membership and its meanings within the statutory frameworks (and the internal structures of incentives towards new members) and finally the formal opportunity 
structure (party laws, finance law and electoral laws encouraging high membership). 

Papers addressing these issues from the perspective of membership activism in the region - case studies or comparative studies - are welcomed. Please send an abstract of 300 words and a short bio until 15 of February 2014 to Alexandra IANCU, PhD, Lecturer, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest alexandra.ionascu@ fspub.unibuc. ro mailto:alexandra.ionascu@ fspub.unibuc. ro or Sorina SOARE, PhD, Lecturer, School of Political Science Cesare Alfieri, Department of Political and Social Sciences, E-mail: ssoare@unifi. it mailto:ssoare@unifi. it. 

Abstracts both in English and French are welcome. Participants will be notified before the 15th of March 2014 about the acceptance of their paper. Depending on availability of funding, the conference organizers will cover the accommodation costs for participants.