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Conference: PRIO Cyprus Centre Annual Conference, Cyprus, 26-27 October 2012‏

In the past few years, the question of governance has become a central feature of political debate across Europe. Debates about ideology appear to have given way to discussions about the ways in which political authorities exercise their power. Is that power truly used for the greater good, or is it, will fully or otherwise, narrowly focused on serving particular segments of society? Such debates have emerged throughout the EU. In Cyprus, political authority is confronted with the challenges of the global economic crisis, the crisis in the Eurozone, as well as internal social and political tensions as regards accountability and transparency. Greece is facing widespread social unrest as people challenge the mainstream political parties; likewise in Britain, wave upon wave of political scandal has brought public trust in politicians to an all-time low. Similar patterns of public concern and popular contestation about the very nature of government can be seen in almost every other European country. Indeed, the way in which the European Union itself is governed is increasingly called into question by those who feel that it has lost touch with the citizens of the Union.

Meanwhile, questions of good governance are increasingly being raised in and around Europe's neighborhood. In North Africa and the Near East, the Arab Spring has seen decades-old regimes challenged in ways that appeared all but unthinkable just a couple of years ago. In the Western Balkans, tackling corruption and building a truly effective rule of law, especially against the backdrop of ethnic tensions, remains a pressing concern. In Ukraine, the apparent immunity of those tied to the ruling class has come under increasing scrutiny.

Taking place in Cyprus, and coinciding with the Republic of Cyprus's presidency of the European Union, this conference seeks to examine the ways in which our understanding of good governance is being shaped in the contemporary era across the European Union and its neighborhood. At a theoretical level, we seek to question what is good governance in the era of the economic crisis. Is it about building a virtuous government, or is about ensuring effective and capable bureaucratic structures? Will “good governance” become an elusive panacea like “democratization,” or does it have other substantive qualities that we may use to define and identify it? And if “good governance” was initially a term applied in the development literature to refer to countries that should take Europe as their model, does the term continue to have meaning at a time when Europe itself is called into question? At the same time, we seek to explore the empirical evidence for changing patterns of governance. What lessons can be drawn from the pan-European experience and from the experience of specific regions and individual countries?

We call for papers that address these issues, both theoretically and empirically, in the European Union, the Western Balkans, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Near East. We are particularly interested in papers that link good governance with issues relating to social unrest and/or various forms of conflict, including themes such as:

--The role of “good governance” in the Arab Spring and its aftermath;
--Empirical and/or theoretical studies of governance in the EU crisis;
--Good governance, citizenship and practices of migration;
--Gender, equity and governance;
--The role of governance in regional conflicts and their resolutions;
--Empirical studies of governance in north and south Cyprus;
--The role of Internet and other media in governance today.

Please send a short biography and an abstract of no more than 250 words to Dr Rebecca Bryant,<>, by 20 June 2012. Only selected abstracts will be informed by 30 June. Participants may expect that part of their costs will be covered, with priority given to students and recent recipients of the Ph.D.
Submissions deadline: 20 June 2012
Apologies for cross posting
Call for papers
Good Governance in Europe and the Neighbourhood
26-27 October 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus