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Voters and Political Parties During the Pandemic: Comparing the Baltics, Eastern and Western Europe

The conference is intended to take place face to face. Depending on the COVID-19 regulations, it may be hosted in a hybrid or completely online format.

Politics during the COVID-19 pandemic underwent transformation and displayed an unexpected dynamic both for voters and political competitors (parties and candidates). The elections organized since March 2020 show no clear pattern among voters: some appeared to punish and others to reward the governments for the ways in which they addressed the pandemic while in office. Political parties had to adapt their campaigning strategies due to the social distancing regulations and general restrictions for personal interactions in many countries. Also, the communication with their own members and the regular party activities had to be changed. This was possible to a large extent due to the broad array of digital tools available to organizers and participants.
Although these changes could be observed at aggregate level, several questions remain unanswered. The research conference aims to understand the complexity of this picture and to answer questions that include but are not limited to the following:
Þ What is the role of the pandemic in the voting decision?
Þ Who votes during the pandemic?
Þ How much trust do people have in political institutions during the pandemic?
Þ How important is the online mobilization and interaction?
Þ How did parties adapt to the pandemic?
Þ How did voting or the profile of voters changed compared to pre-pandemic?
Þ What are the effects of voting during the pandemic?
Þ Why some parties were electorally (un)successful during the pandemic?
The conference brings together researchers discussing developments in the Baltic countries, Eastern Europe (including the Balkans) and Western Europe, either with an emphasis on single-case studies or with a comparative perspective. The conference will provide the space for an academic debate in which scholars can present the most recent findings of their research. The event will be multi-disciplinary and addresses scholars from political science, sociology, history, and European studies. A variety of perspectives and approaches will be encouraged.

Target Group and Conference Structure
The conference will seek to attract a mix of 20 established scholars, early-career researchers, and PhD students conducting research on the Baltic countries, Eastern Europe (including the Balkans) and Western Europe. To increase the exchange of ideas, each paper giver will serve as discussant for another paper.
The conference will run for three days (5, 6 and 7 May) and gather 23 participants (20 from outside Södertörn University). The papers will be clustered in thematic areas that will be decided after the acceptance of papers. The panels will be moderated by a scholar from CBEES. Each presenter will be allocated 45 minutes: 15 minutes to present the paper, 10 minutes for the discussant and 20 minutes for general discussion.

Planned outcomes:
Depending on the homogeneity of the papers, a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal or an edited book may be also feasible.
There is no conference fee. The organizers will provide accommodation and meals for the entire duration of the conference. Accommodation will be paid for three nights (4, 5 and 6 May) and the participants will cover transportation expenses and any supplementary nights.
Authors should fill in the application form by 15 February 2022 (late applications will not be reviewed). The result of the selection process will be communicated until 20 February.

Time and place

05 May 2022, 08:00 - 07 May 2022, 12:00


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