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NIAS Workshop

The Quality of Representation in Contemporary Europe: Questions and Challenges in a New Political Era

When 1 June 2017 10:00 to 2 June 2017 17:00
Where NIAS Conference Room, St. Jorishof, Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, Amsterdam
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Political scientist and Fellow Liza Mügge convenes a workshop on political representation in the era of Trump, Brexit and populism.  

About the Workshop

Brexit, Trump’s triumph and the increasing popularity of right-wing populist parties across Europe challenge how citizens, politicians and scholars think about representation. Established political leaders seem to have lost their personal touch with the electorate, which feels unseen and unheard. This goes hand in hand with increasing Euroscepticism and the call for direct democracy in the form  of referenda. These dynamics introduce major uncertainties in the practice and study of representation. One of the central questions of political and scholarly debate had been how underrepresented citizens, for example based on their social class, gender, race or ethnicity, could gain more voice in politics. Current events, however, suggest that white men are the ones who don’t recognize themselves in politics. This is remarkable, since the grand majority of politicians and political leaders across Europe are also white men, just like them.

Following on the heels of 2017 election campaigns and results in Germany, France and the Netherlands, this academic workshop identifies what this political turn means for the research agenda of political representation in European countries. How should we study the quality of representation in this new political era? To what extent can we still rely on established theories, methodologies and data sources to study group representation? What new frameworks or tools do we need to assess and understand the quality of representation? 

This workshop aims to bring together qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method scholars of political representation from the angle of politicians, parties, citizens or social movements. 

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