Call for Papers: Democracy and Representation in Europe

We’re calling for contributions to our next edition on the state of democracy and representation in Europe and the world today. From the impacts of societal trends to the battle over its meaning, the Journal will ask where democracy is headed and explore analyses, ideas, and proposals for defending and advancing democratic values and practices.

Democracy is both a value and an organising principle around which European societies are built. For much of the continent, it is a relatively recent phenomenon. But, in newer democracies as in more established ones, its spread is neither complete nor guaranteed. While the wave of populist forces that emerged after the financial crisis fueled much debate over the “crisis of democracy”, they have more often questioned democratic legitimacy than called for its outright rejection. Beyond party politics, new movements from the climate strikers to Black Lives Matter are justifiably asking who and what is represented by political systems. Democracy runs through these struggles, and its very definition is up for grabs.

One reason for this contestation is that the bedrock upon which 20th-century democracy was built is shifting. Trends such as growing inequality, digitalisation, and demographic ageing are changing society in ways that necessarily alter its politics too. The climate crisis and the energy transition, as well as being matters of economics and technology, have major implications for democratic structures and processes. The global context is also evolving, as liberal democracies vie with authoritarian governments for legitimacy and power. To this the pandemic has added a new layer of complexity: how to maintain the vitality of democratic life amid an ongoing health emergency is a question that many societies have struggled to answer.

Green politics has long placed democracy and representation at the centre of its thinking. Recognising the shortcomings of democracy understood as an occasional trip to the voting booth, Greens advocate for greater citizen and civil society participation in the democratic process. But to delve deeper into this debate, we are calling for contributions on the state of democracy and representation in Europe and around the world today. What challenges and threats do democracy and representation face? How do understandings of democracy vary and with what significance? What ideas, insights and strategies can Greens and progressives put forward to ensure a democratic future? These are the kind of questions the next edition of the Green European Journal will explore.

Approach

What would you like to write about? Here are some ideas:

  • Societal trends and democracy: What do societal trends – from digitalisation to demographic ageing – mean for the future of democracy and representation?
  • Democracy as a lived experience: What does it mean to live and participate in a democratic society? What makes a democracy representative?
  • Civil society: What is the role of civil society – parties, non-governmental actors, trade unions, press, etc. – in a healthy democracy?
  • Different understandings of democracy: How do different definitions of democracy relate to one another? With what tensions?
  • New movements: What do populism and protest movements reveal about the state of democracy and representation?
  • Pandemic: How has the pandemic affected the practice and experience of democracy?
  • Authoritarianism and rule of law: What threats are posed to democracy and representation by authoritarian governments?
  • Political ecology and democracy: What contribution can political ecology make to the debate on the future of democracy? How can democracy contribute to confronting the ecological crisis?
  • Democratic innovations: What and how much can proposals such as citizens’ assemblies or other forms of participatory democracy offer?
  • Democracy past, present and future: How can the history of democracy inform current debates? What could democracy look like in 30 years?
  • Scale: How do the challenges and opportunities for democracy manifest themselves at the local, national, European, and global levels?
  • Media, disinformation and technology: How are the transformations in the media landscape affecting our democracies?

We welcome contributions from everyone. Contributions from women, gender non-binary people, people of colour, and people from the south and east of Europe are especially encouraged.

Editorial requirements

We do not just want theoretical or academic articles for the next edition of the Green European Journal. We’re looking for lively texts and interviews that will stimulate debate and imagination, and we are also open to alternative formats such as photo essays, comics, and infographics.

Send us a summary of your proposed contribution and introduce yourself before submitting a draft. Pitches and submissions in languages other than English are welcome. Before contacting us, check our editorial guidelines carefully. Submissions may be published in print or online.

For an idea of the questions, themes and approaches that our print editions have explored in the past, you can read previous editions online.

Pitches and ideas should be sent to gej@gef.eu by 19th March 2021.

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