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CALL FOR PAPERS Democracy at Crossroads: The European and Indian Experience September 26 & 27, 2023

September 26, 2023 - September 27, 2023




Democracy at Crossroads: The European and Indian Experience


September 26 & 27, 2023


Organised by


Jean Monnet Chair on

‘Democracy, Diversity and European Identity in the European Union’


Centre for European Studies,

School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Concept Note

Democracy at Crossroads: The European and Indian Experience

Democracy has long established itself as a form of government that best allows citizens to realize their demands and address their concerns. Representation, accountability, transparency, rule of law, rights of all citizens, additionally minority rights are at the heart of what democratic system and governance is all about. Democracy was opted for by postcolonial states and also by post-communist states. However, the march of liberal democracy which appeared unstoppable at the end of the cold war when the Soviet bloc crumbled and stood ideologically defeated is today uncertain. Several surveys which measure democracy/democratic performance across the globe warn about the failing democratic health of the world. In this context it is important to focus on two large democratic spaces and societies – Europe and India to examine how these two spaces function as democracies, their institutional structures and mechanisms, the challenges they encounter and the responses they present to improve democratic content and quality.


Democracy and democratic functioning have been critically impacted with the advent and popularity of social media which has opened up space for connection but the connects appear as much if not more competitive and conflictual as they are constructive and accepting. Societies all across appear more and more polarized. Even developed democracies like the US showed signs of stress when in the last Presidential election not only was Trump unwilling to accept the election results but actually egged his supporters to attack the White House challenging the election.


In the EU there is growing refrain of democratic backsliding in many member states to the extent that EU and the member states are taking each other to court on questions of democracy and rights. Rights of Roma minority, immigrant groups, LGBTQ community figure prominently in democracy discourse and the question of democracy nowhere appears to be settled. From liberal to illiberal democracy the discourse on democracy has come a long way. As European societies have become more and more diverse, questions about freedom of expression, importance of lead culture of host society have entered the democracy debate. Rightwing populist parties with a core narrative of ‘othering’ have emerged as relevant political actors as they connected with citizen sections that found themselves on the wrong side of globalization. These parties today have increasing presence and acceptance in Europe and are influencing the democratic space in critical ways.


Apart from these developments the economic performance and growth of China sans democracy has decoupled liberal democracy as a necessary condition for economic growth. This has not only implications for developments internal to China but also the role it readies to play in global affairs. In international relations and foreign policy documents emanating from the West there is a continuous refrain and stress on rules based international order which democratic states should come together to uphold and defend. This opens wide the question what these developments in Europe, in member states and beyond mean for EU as a normative actor at the heart of which lies democracy as a political system, a way of life.


India a young democracy at 75 has seen its democracy ratings plummet with agencies going to the extent of characterizing it as “electoral autocracy”. The Indian government has of course been quick to counter negative assessments stressing on linking democracy not as a post-colonial choice but rooted in India’s civilizational identity. In international relations India is placed firmly in the democratic camp. EU for instance talks of India-EU as natural partners, in all summits, meetings and policy documents India and Europe’s democratic character is stressed.


However, there is no denying that democracy both in Europe and India is experiencing strains, pulls, and pressures that do not have easy answers. In the light of this we at the Centre for European Studies under the Jean Monnet Chair on “Democracy, Diversity and European Identity in the European Union”, are organizing a two-day international conference on 21 and 22 September 2023 to deliberate on how democratic systems are functioning, how can democracies cope with challenges of diversity, social media, mobility, polarization, terrorism without losing essence and continue to provide opportunity and space for meaningful representation and participation of all sections to advance and ensure equity and justice.


Paper presentation on Europe and India is invited on themes noted below but not limited to it.


  • Re-examining democracy – liberal/ illiberal
  • Democracy and globalization
  • Impact of social media on democracy
  • Impact of terrorism
  • Populism and democracy
  • Democracy and the question of rights
  • European Union and democracy promotion


Papers will be selected on the basis of abstracts (a maximum of 250 words with up to six keywords) to be submitted by 31 May, 2023, to ceusconference2021@gmail.com. The decision regarding the acceptance of proposed papers will be communicated by 10 June, 2023. Accepted full paper to be submitted by 30August, 2023. For any queries, please reach out to the Organising Team at ceusconference2021@gmail.com. or bhaswatices@gmail.com.


Bhaswati Sarkar

Conference Co-ordinator





September 26, 2023
September 27, 2023


Jean Monnet Chair


School of International Studies JNU
Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies JNU
New Delhi, Delhi 110067 India
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