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International Academic Workshop UvA-CSD

International Academic Workshop, November 14-15, 2008, Department of European Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION OF POLITICAL PARTY (SYSTEM) DEVELOPMENT: ASSESSING ACTORS, METHODS, AND EFFECTS

This International Academic Workshop is organized within the framework of a co-operative research project by the Department of European Studies of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (Dr. André W.M. Gerrits) and the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS), Centre for Studies in Democratisation (CSD), University of Warwick (Prof. Dr. Peter Burnell), and is sponsored by the Netherlands' Research Council (NWO).

Political parties develop at the hand of both internal and external factors. The bulk of academic research on party (system) development focuses on the former. This workshop examines the variety of external forces which influence the formation and development of political parties and party systems in post-authoritarian states.

In recent years, foreign assistance to political parties has drawn increasing attention from those studying the external dimensions of party (system) development and democratization processes. Analyses of foreign assistance to political parties have almost exclusively concentrated on the forms of assistance that explicitly seek to enable democratic transformation. Such `conventional' forms of assistance include party-to-party and multiparty trainings, seminars, and study trips supported by established democracies in Western Europe and North America. Contemporary conceptions of political party assistance are therefore limited to one subset of democracy promotion—that of democracy assistance—and shed little light on the remaining external mechanisms which may also affect processes of political development. This workshop aims to challenge such perspectives by encouraging participants to explore political party assistance beyond the confines of conventional democracy assistance.

We welcome papers on a wide range of topics examining the impact of external factors on political parties and party systems. Such topics include, though are not limited to: for-profit services provided by consulting firms and individual consultants; assistance bolstering anti-democratic or anti-systemic parties (i.e. `promoting democracy backwards'); support provided by nongovernmental organizations, such as religious organizations or diaspora communities; the consequences of supranational integration processes, most notably European integration; support provided to post-conflict territories; and new perspectives on the more `conventional' forms of democracy assistance geared towards political parties. Additional topics unmentioned here are also encouraged.

Practical information:

The workshop will be held at the Department of European Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam.

For further questions please contact:

Marlene Spoerri


Or the Chair of the Organizing Committee: Andre Gerrits