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Political science under the spotlight: PSA conference

50th anniversary Political Studies Association conference
10-13 April 2000 at LSE

An international gathering of more than 500 political scientists will mark the 50th anniversary of the Political Studies Association at a conference to be held at LSE from 10 to 13 April 2000. It will be one of the biggest academic conferences ever held in London. Delegates are arriving from the USA and Canada, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Far East, as well as from all over the European Union and the UK.

Keynote speakers at the four-day conference include former UK Chancellor Kenneth Clarke MP, Professor Robert Dahl of Yale University, and Professor Elinor Ostrom from Indiana University.

New Research to be revealed at the conference:

  • Why a crisis looms for British democracy if the alienated non-participating youth carry those attitudes into their midde-age.
  • Why globalisation makes equality and democracy harder to achieve in the 21st century
  • Why people are happier under social democratic governments
  • Why ethnic conflicts are one of the great challenges for the spread of democracy
  • Why the West may have 'lost' Russia for democracy
  • How the IT revolution will change the way democracy works

Dr Keith Dowding, Reader in Public Choice and Public Administration at LSE, is organising the conference with Dr Jim Hughes, Senior Lecturer in Government, at LSE.

Dr Dowding said:
'This year marks the 50th anniversary of the PSA. Political scientists now have the tools to discover more than ever before about how democracy works, why governments fail, and how we may work better together. The twentieth century was the century where democracy triumphed, yet it is seen to be in crisis in those nations where it has been longest in place. Participation is down, politicians have never been held in such low esteem. Politics is here to stay and we need to understand it better. Some of the most fundamental questions about politics and society are being addressed at this conference; some of the answers are very surprising.'

Dr Hughes said:
'If the main challenges for democracy in the previous 50 years came from the inter-state ideological conflicts of the Cold War era and a bipolar world, the main dangers in the next 50 years are likely to come more from conflicts within states, often over ethnic differences. Two new developments that will have an immense impact on the way democracy works are the spread of Information Technology in the making of a 'new economy', and the unpredictability of environmental changes. These factors, together with the immense shifts in global population trends, with a greying of the developed world and huge growth in Asia and the developing world, will present democracy with huge challenges by 2050.'


Contact PSA Conference:
Dr Keith Dowding, LSE, tel: 020 7955 7176
Department of Government|

LSE Press Office, Judith Higgin, tel: 020 7955 7582


The PSA is the professional organisation of UK political scientists.

10 April 2000