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.
Participation in the workshop is contingent upon the acceptance of applicants' abstract. Participants are expected to present individual papers. The final program of the workshop will be made available after the paper proposals have been received.
Proposals for papers, in the form of a title and 300-word abstract, should be sent by April 15, 2008 to Marlene Spoerri at: M.S.Spoerri@ uva.nl
Full papers (5,000 to 7,000 words) should be submitted by October 15,2008.
The workshop will be held at the Department of European Studies,Universiteit van Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam. Travel expenses and accommodation will be fully covered by the organization.
The organizing committee hopes to publish a collection of the papers presented.
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