The 4th International Conference on Democracy as Idea and Practice

The 4th conference deals with problems of representation in modern democracies.

Problems of representation in modern democracies

Issues of representation crop up in a variety of ways in the politics and institutions of modern democracies. Debates on issues of representation are not limited to that of political institutions as conventionally understood, such as parliaments and political parties. In Norway, the issue of gender representation for example has spread from the political sphere to the economic sphere in the form of mandated gender quotas on company boards, and lately institutions in the arts have been accused of discriminating against women (the low rate of economic support for female cinema directors has been cited as an example, and so has a low share of female winners of Nordisk Råds literature prize).  

In public administration a system of gender quotas has been in operation for many years. At the universities voices are heard from time to time claiming that these measures do not close the gender gap fast enough. Similar steps are being taken to enhance ethnic representation in public administration.

And how representative are the channels of public discourse? It is a standard claim by for example populists that their views are systematically barred from official discourse, or only presented in distorted form. Internet and electronic social media have opened up channels of communication and presentation to everybody who is connected but have also spawned worries about the (low) quality of discourse as well as about digital divides barring from participation those not connected.

Paper/panel proposals and registration

Proposed panels and workshops are presented in the programme.

For further proposals contact the programme director, professor Harald Baldersheim ( or one of the panel/workshop organisers listed below.

The conference is also open to participants who do not wish to present a paper. For registration, contact

Published June 21, 2012 1:59 PM - Last modified Jan. 8, 2013 1:36 PM