Annual Conference of the Italian Political Science Association (SISP) - Rome (Italy)

PorPaulo Silva- Postado em 02 maio 2012

Qua, 02/05/2012 - 10:19

Stefano Braghiroli, PhD

Co-Editor of Interdisciplinary Political Studies (IdPS)

Yggdrasil fellow at the ARENA Centre for European Studies - University of Oslo

Research affiliate at the Centre for the Study of Political Change (CIRCaP) - University of Siena


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Call for Papers


Annual Conference of the Italian Political Science Association (SISP) - Rome (Italy), September 13-15, 2012


Tweeting and Friending? Democracy Promotion and Democratization through Technological Innovation


Chairs: Nelli Babayan and Stefano Braghiroli

Deadline for abstracts (300 words): 1 May 2012


Whether positive or negative, the role of the Internet-based media in snowball revolutions in North Africa is currently undisputed. Social networks such as Facebook and micro-blogging websites such as Twitter were used in mobilization of thousands of people, proving to be more effective and efficient than other traditional methods of protest. Regardless of consequent effectiveness of these democratic protests, early 2011 events demonstrated the widespread penetration of the Internet and its success in mobilizing civil society to a degree, previously not achieved by any democracy promoter. This spillover of protests requiring democracy occurred after nearly 20 years of democracy promotion by most influential international actors. On the other hand, the growing role of internet-induced democratic claims is witnessed by the recent attempts undertaken in various countries to limit the access to the Internet and the social media or to encourage self-restraining policies among the international Internet corporations.


Many established democracies and international organizations have adopted democracy promotion as their foreign policy objectives. Heads of states regularly praise democracy and reiterate their commitment to its promotion. However, the on-ground activities of democracy promoters remain largely unknown to broader population. Nevertheless, given the growing influence of non-democratic but economically successful and resource-rich countries, democracy promoters more than ever need to “win the hearts and minds” of these populations though cutting edge strategies. Given a persistent lack of research in this area, the proposed panel aims to shed light on the link between democratization and technological innovation and to see whether “high-tech” strategies of domestic democratization are echoed by similar external democracy promotion strategies.


With the intention of publishing a journal special issue with selected papers, this panel welcomes theoretically and empirically oriented papers looking at innovative strategies of democracy promotion and democratization on macro-level of individual countries and micro-level of specific sectors, e.g. elections, political parties, civil society. Comparative papers investigating cross-sectoral usage and application of broadly conceived technological innovations while pursuing democratic transformations are especially encouraged. Without limiting to a particular region, the panel calls for papers drawing insight from various qualitative and quantitative case studies with a potential to contribute to the understanding of drivers and mechanisms of democratic transformations.


Abstracts of the papers (up to 300 words) should be submitted by 15 May 2012 to nelli.babayan@sis.unitn.itand