Conference on the Digitalisation of Political Recruitment

Call for papers for conference on the Digitalisation ofPolitical Recruitment: Selecting our Future Politicians and Leaders on 20 February 2019 at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen

The social and technological context of representative democracy is rapidly changing. Our established political processes and institutions face pressure from many sources: declining levels of trust in politicians, reduced voter turnout, the rise of populism, post-truth politics and global protest movements. Online and issue-based activism is increasing, while traditional ideologies and partisan attachments hold less importance for citizens. Within representative democracies, political parties provide a key mechanism of political ‘linkage’ in connecting citizens with the state. They occupy a particularly important social and institutional position because of their central role in the recruitment and selection of candidates for public office. Our political parties find, train and mobilise support for the political leaders of the future. In doing so, they also create opportunities for citizens to participate in politics.

Therefore, analysing how parties recruit candidates and future politicians – and who they recruit – is essential to understanding contemporary democracy and improving representative outcomes. This is all the more important in a context of rapid technological and social change where digital platforms have the potential to transform political processes. Previous research demonstrates that political parties have responded to political and social change in a variety of ways. Faced with declining memberships, parties have ‘opened up’ their organisations, engaging a larger base of party supporters in policy development activities, issue-based campaigns and internal leadership selections. They have experimented with a range of digital technologies to coordinate donations, election campaigns and petitions. What we don’t yet know is how these organisational and technological transformations have impacted on the processes of political recruitment that political parties undertake, or their capacity to find the political leaders of the future.

This conference focuses on a central research question that addresses a significant problem faced by contemporary societies. That is, in an era of digital transformation, how can we re-think the way in which political parties recruit our future politicians and leaders? 

The conference include presentations by Sarah Childs (Birkbeck, University of London), Emilie van Haute (Université libre de Bruxelles), Audrey Vandeleene (Lund University), Anika Gauja (Sydney University) and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen (Copenhagen University).

Please submit all paper/presentation proposals to Karina at kp@ifs.ku.dkno later than 01.02.2019

Please sign up for participation without paper presentation to 

The conference is funded by a Partnership Collaboration Awards from the University of Sydney and University of Copenhagen to Anika Gauja and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

For more details about the conference  program please click here