The Annual Conference of FPSA 2016


The Annual Conference of the Finnish Political Science Association 2016

Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, 10–11 March 2016

Migration, Responsibility and the Resiliency of Democracy

Migratory movements, which have continued to increase throughout the twentieth century, have accelerated lately. At the same time, the plight of refugees has grown rapidly. According to UNHCR report, more than 59.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide in 2014 as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. The number grew by 8.3 million persons from the year before, which is the highest annual increase in a single year on record.

Following the overall theme of the conference, we invite discussion on the migration from the point of view of democratic resiliency. This problematic can be approached from multiple perspectives. First, what are the implications of the recent and future migration flows on the European Union, national and world politics/polities, and the understandings of citizenship, democracy and governance at the level of concepts and practices? How can democratic institutions handle the dilemma between state sovereignty and the adherence to claims for universal human rights?

Second, what kind of movements have emerged to challenge, rearticulate and restore democracy? What is the role of populism in an era simultaneously marked by migration and neoliberal reforms? How to tackle racism that is becoming increasingly visible in many Western societies?

Third, migration poses several challenges to democratic processes. Could immigrants and refugees become not only economically but politically engaged and promote for their active citizenship? Which type of consequences migration have for gender, social and political equality? Finally, how do we understand the political connection between migration and climate change? What is the capacity of global political structures and actors to deal with growing migration flows caused by climate change? Are we slowly shifting from solidarity to a joint responsibility?

The keynote speech, addressing these themes with the topic ”Democratic resiliency: What affects it, and how can we achieve it?”, is presented by Professor Carl Henrik Knutsen (Department of Political science, University of Oslo). Professor Knutsen is a project manager and a member of a steering group in the worldwide project entitled “Varieties of Democracy (V-DEM)”. As the editor of Scandinavian Political Studies, he also holds a grandstand view of Nordic politics.

Hanna Wass, Academy Research Fellow, the chair of the organizing committee

Isak Vento, the secretary of the Finnish Political Science association and the conference