Proudly Announcing The new IPSA Research Committee 34 Quality of Democracy

IPSA is pleased to announce the launch of the new research committee on Quality of Democracy (RC 34)

This new research committee wants to cast new light on the empirical analysis of quality of democracy and wants to provide scholars with a new “space” in which they can meet and share methodological and empirical works aiming to deep our understanding of the mechanisms that lead democratic processes, such a changes, subversions, anchoring, etc..

Analyses of democratic regimes have been part of the core agenda in comparative politics since long ago and have known a much larger and comprehensive development over the last four decades since the beginning of the so called third wave of democratization. While research has been vastly enriched on transition from democracy, on favourable and less favourable conditions, and on what makes democracy endure, we are only beginning to explore this new space of analyzing the quality of democracy.

The RC 34 on one side recalls key traditional problems of democratic regimes such as: How rulers can be held accountable to ruled? How responsive policy making can contribute to a more accountable government? To what extent equality and freedom are related? These are some of the research questions that have been recast and have been profoundly reshaping the traditional empirical theory of democracy as a consequence of the spread of democracies in all areas of the world over the last 60 years, but especially since the early 1970s, leading to renewed interest in classic political science topics such as elections, parties, civil society, institutions and institutional design, decision making, policies and their implementation.

In a further step we want to focus new questions and perspectives: What are the reasons for a declining quality of democracy and where can it lead to? What are essential aspects of improving democratic quality? Moreover, the more recently historical and systemic analysis of democratic regimes found a common ground in the democratic quality assessment stream. The RC 34 involves an innovative analytical and methodological proposal which keeps altogether both qualitative and quantitative analyses to the democratic assessment and it is epistemologically committed to cast a comparative perspective on all types of democracy.

Taking into account the political changes towards democracy in the period between 1974 and today the purpose of this new Research Committee is to explore what theoretical developments are possible in the analysis of this widespread and important phenomenon, in order to respond to a number of questions that are both highly relevant and still debated, but which have yet to be answered in an adequate and satisfactory manner.

Actions taken by the RC 34 will cover both networking, research coordination, and dissemination. Contact You can contact the RC 34 at the following chairs' and vice-chair addresses. CHAIRS Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer University of Hildesheim Institute for Social Sciences Professor for Comparative Politics Marienburger Platz 22 D - 31141 Hildesheim Germany Tel.: 0049-5121-883-512 kneuer@uni-hildesheim.de

Prof. Dr. Jean Michel De Waele Université Libre de Bruxelles Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Dean 44 Avenue Jeanne B - 1050 Brussels Belgium Tel.: 0032-2 650 39 03 jmdewaele@ulb.ac.be

Prof. Dr José Álvaro Moisés University of São Paulo Department of Political Science Professor for Democratic Theory Center for Public Policy Research Dean Av Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 315 Cidade Universitaria Sao Paulo CEP 05508900 Brazil Tel (55-11) 30913272 jamoises@gmail.com jamoises@usp.br VICE-CHAIR Dr. Daniela Piana Associate Professor Department of Political Science, Faculty of Political Sciences University of Bologna Strada Maggiore 45 40100 Bologna Italy Tel.: 0039 051 209 27 12 d.piana@unibo.it; danielapiana@hotmail.com