International Political Science Association

Conference 2019.

About the Conference

International Conference

Public Administration in a Democratic Society:
Thirty Years of Democratic Transition in Europe

4-6 October 2019
Dubrovnik, Croatia

  • Institute of Public Administration,Zagreb, Croatia
  • RC 05 Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics of the International Political Science Association (IPSA)
  • RC 32 Public Policy & Administration of the International Political Science Association (IPSA)
  • International Institute of Administrative Sciences – Institut International des Sciences Administratives
  • Croatian Political Science Association, Croatia
  • Faculty of Law, Study Centre for Public Administration and Public Finance, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Faculty of Law, University of Split, Croatia

The Berlin Wall fell on 9November 1989. It separated East and West Berlin for 28 years and was a symbol of political and ideological division of Germany and Europe on the Eastern, socialist block and the Western, democratic part. Next year, it will have been thirty years since the Wall fell and thirty years of democratic transition in central, east, and south-east Europe.

The transition of the former socialist (communist) countries can be compared with several other democratic, economic, and other transitions in the world, from postcolonial transition in Africa, topost-dictatorial transitions in Greece, Spain, and Portugal, to Arab Spring. European post-socialist transition can be defined as more than partial or sectoral transition, i.e. as a systemic transformation of affected countries. However, the outcomes of this particular transition process are not the same in all countries. The relations between public administration and politics are one of the core themes when theorising, researching, and evaluating transition. 

The transition of the former socialist countries in Europe has been accompanied by several important historical events and developments that have marked it and influenced the course and outcomes of transitional processes. They called for adoption of new, appropriate types and instruments of public governance. The most prominent process has been Europeanization in terms of accession to the European Union and harmonisation with the EU acquis communautaire and other standards. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia were in the first and largest group of transition countries that joined the EU on 1st May 2004. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1st January 2007 and Croatia on 1st July 2013. Other transitional countries have different prospects of the EU accession.

Wars and instability crises especially affected the countries on the former Yugoslav territory, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, asking for new, specific governance solutions.Furthermore, transitional countries were also influenced by financial and economic crisis that started in 2007. It led to austerity policy based on implementation of various austerity measures in the governance system. Finally, a part of transitional countries have been grasped by illiberal tendencies, which may easily endanger democratic values and governance standards. On top of domestic circumstances suitable for development of illiberal movements and politics, certain transitional countries were faced with the 2015-2016 wave of mass migration, the largest migration of people to and within Europe since World War II, mainly caused by the war in Syria which created more than 10 million internally displaced people and refugees.

It is time that politicaland other social scientists evaluate results of this massive transition from socialist authoritarianism to political democracy, from command economy to free market economy, from socialist bureaucracy to the rule of law, and from state administration to public service. Responding to serious challenges, people, politicians, public officials, and scientist can easily lose clear view of democracy and direct their attention and efforts to more technical issues or to the options which deviate from democracy.

Therefore the conference is to analyse the role of public administration in a democratic society and to reinforce democratic values as the core dimension of democratic public governance at all governmental levels– local, regional, and national.

The conference organizers particularly welcome evaluative, knowledge utilization, and interdisciplinary approaches based on the neoinstitutional, systemic, transformational, and other relevant theoretical orientations. Multi-dimensional learning (theory-theory, theory-practice, discipline-discipline), practice-relevant knowledge production, and foreseeing the future are desirable paper orientations for the conference.

The conference intends to gather scholars of administrative, political, social, and legal sciences and economics, PhD students, experts, and practitioners worldwide. Special attention will be given to ensuring gender and age representation, as well as good representation of participants from South Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Croatia. 

Without being exclusive, the conferenceorganizers wish participants to discuss the following issues:

  • What are the key public administration concepts that promote and preserve democratic values in public governance in transition countries?
  • How do different types of relations between public administration and politics determine transition outcomes?
  • What are the overall results of post-socialist transition in terms of public governance?
  • How do people, political actors, and scientists assess and evaluate the results of public governance transition?
  • What can be learned from other transition processes in the world?
  • To what extent is the post-socialist transition specific, and to what extent – consequently – does it require specific conceptual and research tools in social sciences and particularly in political and administrative sciences?
  • What are the public administration tasks and problems caused by transition and how should they be treated in science and in practice?
  • How can the observed governance problems in the post-socialist transition countries be cured?
  • What is the role of Europeanization in healing transitional “hereditary” and new administrative and governance illnesses?
  • What are the prospects of post-socialist transition in terms of public administration and public governance?
  • Is there anything good that we learned from post-socialist transition that can be used (transplanted) for reinforcing democratic governance in consolidated democracies?
  • How contemporary populist movement and ideologies, spreading in certain transitional countries in CEE and SEE regions, influence transition and its prospects?

The best quality papers will be invited for publication in the edited volume with a well-known international publisher and in the international scholarly journal Croatian and Comparative Public Administration (http://ccpa-journal.eu/index.php/ccpa/index).

Key Dates

March 15th, 2019 – Abstracts (300-400 words) should be sent to ivan.kopric@pravo.hr

April 15th, 2019 – Notification of acceptance

There are no fees for attendance. Participants are responsible for securing their own funding for travelling and accommodation.

Keynote Speeches

  • Governance and Democracy: Diverging or converging? by Professor Geert Bouckaert (IIAS President), University of Leuven, Belgium
  • The politico-administrative transformation of ex-Communist countries after 1990, by Professor Emeritus Hellmut Wollmann, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
  • The quest for legitimacy: Philosophical underpinnings of administrative reform doctrines, by Professor Edoardo Ongaro(EGPA President), The Open University London, United Kingdom
  • Democratic transition, deficits and innovation in Europe, by Professor Norbert Kersting, Westfalische Wilhems Universitat Muenster, Germany
  • Democratisation and administrative reforms: Lessons learned from democratic post-socialist transition, by Professor Ivan Koprić, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Organizing Committee

  • Professor Ivan Koprić, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb & Institute of Public Administration (IPA President), Croatia, ikopric@pravo.hr
  • Professor Norbert Kersting(IPSA RC 5, Chair), Westfalische Wilhems Universitat Muenster, Germany, kersting@uni-muenster.de
  • Professor Philippe Zittoun (IPSA RC 32, Chair), University of Lyon, France, pzittoun@gmail.com
  • ProfessorGeert Bouckaert(IIAS President), University of Leuven, Belgium, geert.bouckaert@kuleuven.be
  • Professor Dražen Lalić, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb& Croatian Political Science Association (CPSA President), Croatia, drazen.lalic@gmail.com
  • Assistant Professor Mihovil Škarica, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb & Institute of Public Administration, Croatia, mihovil.skarica@pravo.hr
  • Assistant Professor Dario Čepo, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb,Croatian Political Science Association& Institute of Public Administration, Croatia, dario.cepo@pravo.hr

Date and Conference format

The conference will last from Friday, October4 to Sunday, October6, 2019 and will be held in the CAAS premises in Dubrovnik. It will be organized in the form of plenary sessions and several topical panel sessions.


Tentative schedule of the Conference

  • Friday, 4October 2019 – opening of the Conference, morning and afternoon sessions
  • Saturday, 5October 2019 – morning and afternoon sessions
  • Sunday, 6October 2019 – morning session and closing of the Conference

Selection procedure, submission of papers and important deadlines


All interested may notify their interest in participation by 15 March 2019, attaching the proposed titles and abstracts (300-400 words). The selection of papers is based on the academic interests and current research of the invited candidates as well as their involvement in the corresponding research networks. The invited participants will be informed about selection procedure results by 15April 2019.The invited participants should send their draft papers by 15September 2019. The papers should not exceed 8.500 words limit.


Abstracts (300-400 words) should be sent to ivan.kopric@pravo.hr


A summary of important deadlines:

  • 15 March 2019 – Submission of abstracts to the Organizing Committee
  • 15 April 2019– Notification of abstract acceptance
  • May 2019 – Circulation of Draft Conference Programme
  • 15September 2019 – Submission of draft papers
  • 4-6October 2019 – Conference in Dubrovnik

Publication opportunities

Selection of presented papers will be invited for submissionby the international scientific journal Croatian and Comparative Public Administration.There is an opportunity of preparing an edited volume which publisher is the Institute of Public Administration, Zagreb, Croatia.

Venue and accommodation

The Conference will be organized at the Centre for Advanced Academic Studies (CAAS) in Dubrovnik, Croatia (address: Don FranaBulića 4, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia). CAAS is located in the very heart of Dubrovnik, less then five-minute walk from the Old City. Accommodation for keynote speakers and limited number of participants is reserved at CAAS residence for the period 3-6 of October 2019.Organizers will cover accommodation costs only for the invited keynote speakers. Web site of CAAS:

http://www.caas.unizg.hr/accomodation.html


All participants are kindly asked to take necessary steps for their travel arrangements soon after their participation is confirmed by the Organizing Committee. The Dubrovnik Airport has good connections (direct or indirect) with all main European airports.