Hoppa direkt till innehållet
Huvudmenyn dold.
Logotyp till SWEPSA 2024

Bild: Linnéa Eriksson Östberg

SWEPSA 2-4 October in Umeå

Welcome to 2024 SWEPSA conference on the theme Democratic Backsliding. This years conference is hosted by the Department of Political Science at Umeå University.


2 May 2024

- Submission of abstracts opens 

15 June 2024

- Deadline submission of abstracts

- Registration and payment opens 

31 August

- Registration closes 

Democratic backsliding has become a global phenomenon marked by the gradual erosion of democratic norms and institutions. It manifests in various forms, including undermining the rule of law, curtailing civil liberties, suppression of political dissent, and is a trend fueled by factors such as populism, economic inequality, corruption and societal polarization. It poses a significant threat not only to affected countries but also peace and global stability, necessitating urgent attention and action to safeguard democratic values.

Working groups 

Here you can find the working groups decriptions, chairs and contact information. Submissions of abstracts will open 2 May here on the website. 

Crisis preparedness, climate change adaptation and governance

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Veronica Strandh, Malin Eklund Wimelius and Carina Keskitalo (Umeå University)

Municipalities, regions, national authorities, private companies, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens all have a role to play in strengthening crisis preparedness. Crises and disasters come in many forms, fast-burning crises as storms, forest fires and terror attacks as well as creeping crises as climate change or pandemics. They pose complex practical challenges and are also oftentimes characterized by time-pressure and uncertainty in terms of political authority and collaboration structures.

This workshop welcomes papers (both empirical and theoretical) that engage in the broad topic of crisis preparedness, climate change adaptation and governance. For example, studies on preparedness initiatives in Sweden and across countries to strengthen local resilience against different crises. It also relates to long-term adaptation processes to reduce risks and strengthen both public and private actor’s crisis management capacity.

Contributions can be written in English or Swedish. The workshop will be held in English if non-Swedish-speakers attend.

Critical studies of power and the political 

Submit your abstract here

Working group chair:
Jennie Brandén (Umeå university), Andreas Öjehag-Pettersson (Karlstad university), Matheus Souza (Umeå university)

This workshop is open for all researchers interested in critical studies of power and the political.

In short, this means that we welcome submissions that draw on critical approaches in the social sciences to explore political phenomena as they manifest in traditional politics and policy, events, organizations, practices, and knowledge production in past or contemporary societies. Such approaches include, but are not limited to, post-structuralist approaches, critical discourse analysis (CDA), Feminist theory, Foucauldian and governmentality analysis, post-colonial studies, Marxism and post-humanism (for instance ANT, STS or new materialism).

Papers are not limited to any specific sub-field of political science or any particular empirical topic. That said, they often revolve around questions of (in)equality, the workings of power, subjectivities, otherness or questions of governing in an era marked by neoliberal forms of rule.

We welcome theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions. In particular, we welcome contributions that relate to the conference theme and critically explore the political and power related dynamics and outcomes of democratic backsliding. Papers can be written in English or Swedish, however, the default workshop language will be English. If you are a PhD-student and would like to join the discussion without presenting a paper, please contact one of the chairs so that we can try to make room for you.

Finally, the workshop is also associated with the Swepsa Network for critical studies of power and the political. This is also open for interested researchers and contact information can be found at the Swepsa website.

Environmental Politics

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Elsa Reimerson, Auvikki de Boon and Elias Isaksson (Umeå University) 

In an era marked by both unprecedented environmental challenges and political turmoil, environmental and land use issues often end up in the center of the ideological battlefield. As democratic institutions all over the world face increasing strain, understanding the repercussions for environmental governance and sustainability is crucial. This workshop welcomes papers on a broad range of topics that examine aspects of environmental governance from the local to the global level. Submissions may include both theoretical and empirical contributions investigating the impact of democratic erosion on environmental governance, assessments of the role of political institutions in shaping climate change responses, explorations of the interplay between authoritarian tendencies and ecological policies, or other themes relating to environmental governance and the complex dynamics shaping the future of our planet in the face of political transformations.

The workshop welcomes papers with different theoretical, methodological, and empirical approaches. Contributions can be written in English or Swedish. The workshop will be held in English if non-Swedish speakers attend.

European Studies

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Magnus Blomgren (Umeå University), Elsa Karlsson Gustafsson( Umeå University), Evelina Lundgren (Umeå University),
Anna Michalski (Uppsala University) and Péteris Timofejevs (Umeå University).

This workshop welcomes papers dealing with European politics in a broad sense. Themes can include, but are not limited to European integration, the EU’s political system, its institutions and policies, and the EU as an international actor and its position in a geo-political world. Papers that connect to the overall theme of the conference are prioritized. We also welcome papers that deal with theoretical or methodological developments within these fields.

Papers can be written in English or Swedish, however, the default workshop language will be English unless all the participants are Swedish speakers.

International politics 

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Niklas Eklund and Paul Schmidt (Umeå university)

Against the backdrop of parallel global trends toward democratic backsliding and securitization, we welcome submissions in the fields of international politics and relations as widely conceived. We envisage discussions building upon contributions from both junior and senior scholars employing a variety of methodological approaches, including themes related to peace and conflict studies, international organisation, and the norms and structures impinging on international law and human rights. Themes can also be actor-based while including or being restricted to a particular level of analysis, such as national or regional developments in geopolitical context, diplomatic, and security and foreign policy approaches including elite and/or group theory.

Contributions are welcome in both Swedish and English, although the default working language for the group will be English.  

Political behaviour and parties

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Johan Hellström (Umeå University), and Niklas Bolin (Mid-Sweden University).

This workshop welcomes normative, theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions within the field of political behaviour, elections, and political parties. The overall aim of the workshop is to gather researchers engaged research topics such as vote choice in elections, political turnout and participation, political recruitment and representation, political leadership, legislative behaviour, political parties' goals and organization, party competition, government formation and policy-making, social movement activism, responsiveness, and knowledge resistance.

The workshop welcomes papers from junior as well as established scholars who are interested in the topics outlined. Contributions can be written in English or Swedish. The workshop will be held in English if non-Swedish-speakers attend.

Political Theory 

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs: 
Rolf Hugoson

We welcome submissions in political theory broadly conceived, including normative political theory, the history of political thought, and positive political theory, as in theoretical work on problems in contemporary politics and public policy, as well as discussions of fundamental political concepts, methods and phenomena. The texts can be in Swedish or English.

The seminars will be in Swedish unless the author of the paper (or the discussant) prefers that the seminar is in English.

Politics and Gender 

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs: 
Elisabeth Olivius, Stina Lundström and Jim Jormanainen (Umeå University)

This workshop is open for all researchers interested in exploring dynamics of gender and sexuality in global, national and local politics. The workshop aims to explore how gendered power relations, norms and identities structure political processes, institutions, and mobilization; how gendered power relations intersect with sexuality, race, class, religion, global hierarchies, and other axes of inequality and marginalization; and how gender and sexuality are mobilized in the legitimation of particular political orders, as well as militarization, violence, and exclusion.

In particular, we welcome contributions that relate to the conference theme and explore the gendered dynamics and outcomes of democratic backsliding. This can include, for example, analysis of right-wing populist anti-gender and anti-queer politics; legal and political backlash against women’s rights; the appropriation of gender equality as a marker of civilizational difference in anti-immigrant and racist discourses; and the instrumental mobilization of gender norms by authoritarian regimes.

We welcome theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions from all sub-fields of political science. The workshop will be held in English, unless all participants are Swedish speakers.

Policy, governance, and public administration

Submit your abstract here

Working group chairs:
Louise Skoog and Jessika Wide (Umeå university)

This workshop invites papers that address different research topics within the broad field of policy, governance, and public administration. Empirical and theoretical papers are welcome as well as normative papers. The workshop is open to studies of public policy, agenda setting, governance processes, relations in the politico-administrative system, multilevel governance, public decision-making in different respects, democratic challenges, implementation and evaluation, different welfare sectors, and issues in relation to public management and administration.

The workshop welcomes studies on all tiers of government (local, regional, national, international) and of urban and rural settings. Different types of studies of major trends in governance and public administration are of course of great interest to this workshop, such as new public management, public ethics, digitalization etc. Papers using different approaches and methods as well as a broad set of theoretical applications and theorizing efforts are most welcome.

Papers can be presented in either Swedish or English.

Project leader

Senast uppdaterad: 2024-04-23