Political Studies Association of Ireland annual conference, Dublin, October 21-23

Post by David Farrell (October 17)

This year’s PSAI takes place on October 21-23, in the Royal Irish Academy on the Friday and Newman House (Stephens Green) on the Saturday and Sunday.  The over-arching theme of this year’s conference is “political reform in Ireland”. Details about the conference and how to register are available here.  The PSAI is providing free access to the Friday sessions – see below for details.  Anyone who wishes to attend needs to register in advance by emailing Jean.Brennan@ucd.ie

A free ‘sampler’ for non-PSAI members

Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, October 21


14.00 – 16.00: Plenary Session 1:            What’s the point of election studies?

Chair: Richard Colwell, managing director Red-C

Prof. Michael Marsh (TCD), ‘Solidarity and cross party voting under PR-STV’

Dr. John Garry (QUB), ‘Is political accountability possible under consociationalism?’

Prof. Susan Banducci (Exeter), ‘Information, Mobilisation and the Problem of Turnout’

Prof. Sylvia Kritzinger (Vienna), ‘Voting at 16 in Austria: Turnout and the Quality of Vote Choice’

Prof. Paul Whiteley (Essex), ‘The Noes Have it: Voting in the AV Ballot Referendum in Britain’


Tea/ Coffee: 16.00 – 16.30



16.30-17.00: Plenary Session 2:             What’s the point of the Eurovision?

Chair: Prof. Michael Gallagher (TCD)

Dr. Adrian Kavanagh (NUIM), ‘No Longer Jed and Buried? Political perspectives on Ireland in the Eurovision song contest’



17.00-18.00: Plenary Session 3:             Political Reform Roundtable

Chair: Sean O’Rourke (RTÉ)

Panelists: Minister of the Environment Phil Hogan, TD (Fine Gael), Senator Ivana Bacik (Labour), Richard Boyd Barret, TD (ULA), Representatives from other political parties (TBC)


18.00 Reception – Hosted by RTÉ News and Current Affairs

Professor Luciano Bardi (Pisa), Chair of the ECPR, introduces Prof Richard S. Katz (Johns Hopkins) who will make a presentation in memory of the late Peter Mair (1951-2011)

Sean O’Rourke (RTÉ) will launch RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Election 2011

One thought on “Political Studies Association of Ireland annual conference, Dublin, October 21-23

  1. Hope it proves to be a tasty sampler and generates some wider popular interest in the issue. However, I’m afraid I remain sceptical. There is no tradition in Ireland of a long struggle to impose democratic governance on native power elites as there has been in most other developed democracies. There is no real sense of ‘ownership’; it’s more a sense of ‘taking possession’ of a model developed elsewhere and making some limited modifications. Once the power elites are native and not foreign then that’s allright. And we can change the elected ‘head honchos’ every 4 or 5 years if we feel like it. We don’t need TDs to keep government in line; we just want them to make sure we get our share of any spoils on offer. And if a government looks like it’s getting a bit ‘up itself’, we’ll use whatever election crops up to fire a shot across its bows. Unfortunately, there’s far, far more to effective democratic governance than this.

    And, on a broader level, the achievement of universal manhood suffrage in the early years of the last century succumbed to totalitarian fascism in Germany and Italy and to variations in Japan, Spain and Portugal. The subsequent global war frightened the bejaysus out of the victors and every effort has been made since to limit effective democratic governance and legitimacy lest they succumb once again to vicious and inhuman populism. But the entire process has been captured in the last 30 years by an elite which exercises economic and market power.

    This is illustrated by an interesting take in The Economist:

    There is also this simple but enlightening Venn diagram:

    If citizens in other developed democracies (where there is a tradition of struggle to impose democratic governance on native power elites and a sense of ownership of this system) are finding it difficult to mobilise so as to fully reclaim their ownership, what hope is there in Ireland?

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