Call for Papers for the PSAI-PDD Conference

'Cross-border Transformations - Multilevel Structures for Deliberation and Participation in Constitutional Politics'

June 2024 at Dublin City University, Ireland


The PDD conference is organised by the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI PDD) and the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the UK Political Studies Association. The conference will take place in Dublin City University, in Dublin, Ireland, on June 13-14, 2024 (tentatively).


About the conference

Recent advances in the field of participatory and deliberative democracy have brought a strong set of normative critiques that address the various shortcomings of and challenges encountered by contemporary representative democracies. These criticisms emphasise the need for a higher level of public engagement, more robust and effective representation, and stronger mechanisms for involving citizens in the decision-making process. In addition, they point towards ways to provide greater transparency and accountability in the political process and improve the quality of public discourse and deliberation.

For the first joint conference of the Participatory & Deliberative Democracy Specialist Groups of the Irish and British Political Studies Association, we welcome theoretical and empirical contributions from all researchers in the field.

The focal point of this conference, though, are questions and debates about the use of participatory and deliberative “democratic innovations” to address questions of constitutional reform, state/regime form and territorial politics.

Against the backdrop of “democratic crisis phenomena” in (what were considered) established democracies as well as in the aftermath of Brexit, these issues gain salience. In current public and scholarly debates, questions arise with respect to the emerging constitutional debate on a potential future united Ireland; others arise in the United Kingdom, in debates over devolution and federalisation; and they are related to important issues internationally from Catalonia to Chile. They are important as a central element in developing an agenda for future participatory research.

A range of recent participatory and deliberative processes not just address specific policy-issues, but their potential to “change the rules of the democratic game”, for institutional reforms and constitution-making amidst territorial change. Two illustrative examples are the Icelandic constitutional reform and the German citizens’ assembly on the future of democracy.

Furthermore, the concept of multilevel structures for deliberation and participation in politics and more complex combinations of different democratic innovations has gained considerable attention in recent years. The emergence of new advances in technology and the changing face of politics now just as recurring debates about “democratic constitutionalism” promise that people’s voices are not only heard. Rather, a range of researchers and practitioners by now also make an effort to involve so-called “lay citizens” in the process of writing and amending constitutions, allowing for a more democratic and inclusive approach to constitutional politics. Throughout the conference we will address this potential, as well as the potential for ‘systemic’ and ‘participatory’ approaches to constitutional reforms.

The need for (citizen-led) institutional and constitutional reforms becomes particularly relevant with a view to formerly colonised countries where, for example, the Westminster system was implemented by colonial powers. In these contexts, democracy scholars, political scientists, political theorists and philosophers frequently embrace democratic innovations as a strategy for reforming the current institutional infrastructure and embedding “homegrown” ways of “doing democracy”


Conference topics

The Conference organisers of the PSAI PDD and the PSA PPD  invite political scientists, political philosophers and democracy researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in all stages of their careers (including doctoral students) to present and discuss relevant empirical and theoretical work. Topics include the conference theme but are not limited to:

  • Democratic constitutionalism, participatory constitutionalism;
  • Citizens’ current and potential engagement in democratically shaping constitutional reform processes;
  • “Democratic innovations”, in particular mini publics/citizens’ assemblies (including but not limited to their applications in constitutional and institutional reforms);
  • Research methods for studying participatory and deliberative democracy;
  • Participatory and deliberative experiences from the Global South;
  • Decolonisation of participatory/deliberative democracy studies;
  • Territorial studies (including but not limited to participatory/deliberative initiatives associated with territorial disputes).


Submission guidelines for authors

How to submit a paper/panel proposal: Please send a paper abstract of around 150 words with a title, authors’ names, affiliation, and contact information. We strongly encourage the submission of panel proposals containing three to four paper abstracts by 20th December 2023 to psai-pdd@dcu.ie.

This conference will not charge a conference registration fee.


Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submission: 20th December 2023

Notification of acceptance: February 2024


Organising committee:

Dr Valesca Lima, Dublin City University, School of Law and Governance
Dr Dannica Fleuss, Dublin City University, School of Communication
Dr S. Harikrishnan, Dublin City University, School of Law and Government
Dr Anthony Costello, Department of History, Politics and IR (Liverpool Hope University)

For any enquiries regarding the programme, please contact: psai-pdd@dcu.ie.