Upcoming events

A region in transition: the fluid nature of Middle East politics @ Sala Triaria
Mar 6 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Raffaella Del Sarto who will explore whether the Middle East is witnessing the dawn of a new regional order, and whether the recent Israel-Hamas conflict marks a pivotal moment in its trajectory.

Much has been written about the regional order in the Middle East in recent years. Ever since the Arab uprisings started in 2010–2011, debates on whether regional politics changed fundamentally, and perhaps even irreversibly, have abounded. Certainly, the region has witnessed significant developments since 2011. Revolutions have ousted long-term autocrats, civil wars involving multiple armed groups erupted, and the antagonism between Saudi Arabia and Iran reverberated throughout the region. Several regional actors, most notably Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar, upped their game in Middle Eastern politics, as did Russia and China, while the United Sates somewhat retreated from the region. The seminar will address the questions of whether we are witnessing the emergence of a fundamentally new regional order in the Middle East and whether the latest Israel-Hamas war is likely to be a turning point in regional politics.

Book presentation: Coming to terms with the European refugee crisis @ Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia
Mar 13 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Join this roundtable with the authors of the book and understand more about how Europe navigated the critical 2015-16 refugee crisis.
The refugee crisis 2015-16 was not the first of its kind in Europe, and it was not the only crisis Europe had to face in the more recent past. However, it was the most critical for the EU’s resilience. Based on an original method to analyse policy-making processes, surveys, election campaign analysis, and speech analysis, this study shows how the policymakers in the compound EU polity tried to come to terms with this crisis. The book argues that the policy-specific institutional context, characterised by limited EU competences and inadequate regulations, in combination with asymmetrical problem pressure among the member states and intense domestic political pressure, led to a highly politicised mixture of conflicts both at the transnational and the national level. This served to constrain the potential for intergovernmental agreement, coordination and joint action, resulting in short-term minimum common denominator solutions, and prevented the reform of the dysfunctional European asylum policy.
The EU’s geoeconomic turn: From policy Laggard to institutional innovator @ Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia
Mar 14 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Sophie Meunier to explore the EU’s geoeconomic turn and its innovative policy tools in response to global challenges.
Heightened geopolitical tensions and the growing securitisation of economic exchange over the past decade have prompted many countries to adopt new geoeconomic tools. Long resistant to this geoeconomic turn, the European Union (EU) has since 2017 created a panoply of innovative policy tools that blend trade and investment with essential security concerns. This paper examines why and how the EU has been able to implement the doctrinal and policy changes necessary to put economic tools at the service of geopolitics. After introducing a typology of defensive and offensive geoeconomic tools deployed by advanced industrial economies, we present the novel geoeconomic toolkit quickly assembled by the EU. This development is explained by the confluence of external factors that triggered European leaders’ beliefs in the necessity of change and internal factors that made such change institutionally and politically possible. This trend was reinforced by the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
SOLID event: Policy feedback and public opinion @ Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia
Mar 14 @ 11:00 pm – Mar 15 @ 12:30 pm
Join this conversation with Marius Busemeyer, based on a co-authored article in the British Journal of Political Science (‘Beyond positive and negative’, Busemeyer, Abrassart and Nezil 2021).


The study of policy feedback on public attitudes and policy preferences has become a growing area of research in recent years. Scholars in the tradition of Pierson usually argue that positive, self-reinforcing feedback effects dominate (that is, attitudes are commensurate with existing institutions), whereas the public thermostat model developed by Wlezien and Soroka expects negative, self-undermining feedback. Moving beyond the blunt distinction between positive and negative feedback, this article develops and proposes a more fine-grained typology of feedback effects that distinguishes between accelerating, self-reinforcing, and self-undermining, specific and general, as well as long- and short-term dynamic feedback. The authors apply this typology in an analysis of public opinion on government spending in different areas of the welfare state for twenty-one OECD countries, employing a pseudo-panel approach. The empirical analysis confirms the usefulness of this typology since it shows that different types of feedback effects can be observed empirically.

By invitation only.

The reconceptualisation of civil society in an illiberal democracy: the Hungarian Case @ Sala Triaria
Apr 10 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Krisztina Arato as she explores the evolution of civil society in post-communist East Central Europe and reveals profound shifts in its concepts, forms, and context, offering insights into broader understandings of governance and democracy in the region.
Civil society, while being an elastic concept, is widely understood as space outside the state, the market and private sphere that among others, contributes greatly to the quality of democracy providing non-electoral participation forms in day-to day politics. This civil society ethos was very much in focus in the 1989/90 in East Central Europe in newly established democracies and contributed significantly to system change. The democracy decline process in the region after 2010 and the birth of illiberal democracies brought about changes in the attitudes towards and the understanding of civil society. Based on the Hungarian case I argue that the Orbán regime has redefined the concepts, the forms and the context of civil society and in this process we can trace to regime’s understanding of politics in general that can shed light on other fields of governance, too.
The Europeanisation of national constitutional law in the EU candidate countries @ Sala Triaria
Apr 17 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
This paper is focused on the implementation of the founding values of the European Union (Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union) in the national constitutional law of the EU candidate countries. The last enlargement packages obliged candidate countries to pay attention to credible reforms on the fundamentals. The previous model of EU enlargement was mainly based on the full acceptance of the acquis, but the adoption of EU legislation in various areas did not guarantee that “European” values are fully accepted and respected in the candidate countries. The new clusters in the new methodology “Fundamentals” means protecting common values which requires their implementation in the national constitutional law. Thus, this paper analyses the state of Europeanisation of national constitutional law in comparative perspective.
Resisting the conservative swing: Gender mobilisation in the 2023 Polish elections @ Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia
Apr 24 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Agnieszka Kwiatkowska to understand the impact of young women on Polish politics.

The 2023 Polish elections, widely perceived as a critical juncture amid concerns of democratic backsliding, represented a pivotal moment for the country’s democratic integrity. This study focuses on the social mobilisation termed ‘the revolution of the politically disinterested’, driven predominantly by groups typically disengaged from politics, particularly young women. Historically, these women have demonstrated the least interest in politics and the lowest voter turnout in general elections. However, in 2023, they emerged as a decisive force, exhibiting voting preferences significantly divergent from the broader electorate.

Since 2016, and especially following the Constitutional Tribunal’s 2020 abortion ruling, there has been noticeable political mobilisation among women, particularly within younger cohorts. This shift manifested in increased declarations of interest in politics, unprecedented participation in the 2020 presidential elections in Poland, and a marked inclination towards left-wing political stances. This surge in political engagement notably influenced the strong focus on women’s rights in the agendas of opposition political parties. In 2023, the political activation of this demographic, initially hesitant about participating in elections, became increasingly apparent in the weeks leading up to the elections, resulting in an unprecedented turnout.

Using a representative survey with survey experiments conducted a month after the 2023 parliamentary elections, this study investigates the social mobilisation around gender issues as pivotal to the election outcome. The research reveals a reversal of conservative trends established during the Law and Justice (PiS) rule, particularly regarding attitudes towards women’s political representation. It also emphasises the centrality of women’s rights in electoral mobilisation and identifies gender-specific strategies in candidate selection on electoral lists.

Looking ahead to the 2024 European Parliament elections, this study underscores that mobilisation, especially among young cohorts, around women’s rights is temporal and conditional. Sustaining this momentum will necessitate continued efforts from both governmental and non-governmental actors.


Real threat or paper tiger? Europe’s new market interventionism and globalisation @ Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia
May 22 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Manuela Moschella as she explores the EU’s economic security policy and its impact on globalisation and market interventionism
The paper sets out to investigate whether the return of state interventionism and economic statecraft constitute a threat to globalisation. Specifically, it focuses on the European Union and its new economic security policy agenda, crafted in response to the geopolitical and environmental challenges of the last decade. In doing so, the paper argues and illustrates that some key features of the EU political economy undermine the ability to sustain the new economic interventionist agenda. In particular, it draws attention to the EU fragmented institutional structure and mixed societal support that undermines long-term planning and market discipline. Additionally, the paper highlights the mismatch between the EU’s traditional values and the new economic policy agenda, which undermines the legitimacy of the new EU economic interventionism.