2022 Annual Conference: The University of Waikato
Reclaiming Common Ground: A Key Challenge for Political Studies
The annual conference of the New Zealand Political Studies Association will be held online from Tuesday 29th November until Thursday 1st December 2022. We welcome paper submissions, especially those that relate to our theme of Reclaiming Common Ground: A Key Challenge for Political Studies. Submission details are below or downloadable here.
The convergence of the global pandemic, authoritarian nationalism, war in Ukraine, and democratic backsliding herald seismic shifts in our global political landscape. Internationally, we have seen growing political polarisation, declining trust in democratic institutions, the ruthless exploitation of sectarian politics, and growing scepticism about electoral democracy. While Aotearoa New Zealand has been immune from many of these excesses, in recent years we have had to face extremist terror attacks, and in early 2022 we have seen the growing political significance of fringe, extremist far-right political ideologies driven by an increase in the spread of mis- and dis-information. This has had particular significance during the COVID-19 response, posing significant challenges to public health strategies by undermining factual information and drowning out official advice. It contributed in large part to the occupation of Parliament’s grounds in February and early March, illustrating how, in our national political landscape, we have seen the (ab)use of democratic institutions, such as the right to protest and freedom of speech, to bring extremist ideas into the mainstream and threaten democracy. This raises the question of how we as political studies researchers might respond to this new political landscape.
We invite, therefore, papers examining how we might address the challenge of politically significant misinformation and disinformation campaigns, the splintering of realities and the loss of common ground and a shared narrative. Are our current research agendas suited to this emerging political landscape? What does our discipline have to offer this national and global moment? How do we reimagine a research and teaching agenda for inclusive politics in Aotearoa New Zealand that creates spaces open to diverse voices and perspectives, and is informed by Te Tiriti?
We are holding this conference online, another reminder of how our work has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The public health response to COVID-19 has led to new challenges for political studies—our campuses have been disrupted, we have fewer opportunities for face-to-face dialogue, contact with students is increasingly online, as are professional practices, and the research field is changing. We also invite papers that address how we might rethink the discipline of political studies in this new landscape. How we might respond to the new demands on research and teaching posed by the COVID-19 pandemic? What is the place of political studies – in terms of campus activities, teaching and research – in universities that continue to corporatise their mission? How should we respond to the challenges faced by students, many of whom are now facing their third year of largely online tertiary study?
In addition to the above themes we encourage submissions from all areas related to comparative politics, political theory, international relations, Māori politics, media and politics, gender politics, environmental politics, public policy and New Zealand politics. We also welcome proposals for panel sessions (3-4 speakers) and roundtable proposals related to the conference theme.