Workshop – Call for Papers: Deliberation, Participation and Democracy in Contemporary South Asia: Spaces, Practices, Voices 



Please note: the deadline for submissions has been extended to 11 August. 

Dublin City University, Dublin, 10-11 November 2023 

The Ireland India Institute and the Irish Association of South Asian Studies at Dublin City  University invite paper proposals for an academic workshop on “Deliberation, Participation,  and Democracy in Contemporary South Asia: Spaces, Practices, Voices” to be held in person  at Dublin City University on 10-11 November 2023. The event is supported by a grant from  the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS). 

The past decade, arguably, has shifted the focus of conversations across South Asia from  discussions about deepening and consolidation of democracy to questioning its very nature and  workings. A populist shift in national politics across the region, and the world, and the  ramifications of such developments for inclusive politics is understudied and under-analysed.  The spaces for participation and growing forms of alternative citizen assertions, indicate  emerging actors, their demand for representation and “to be seen”. While participation in  “traditional” politics such as voting and party membership may have declined, there has also  been an explosion of activities that seek to “do democracy differently”. At the same time,  debates about ‘who gets what, when and how’ have become more polarised and polarising. In  South Asia, a region familiar with protracted conflict, intractable disputes over land, borders  and identity, democratic processes have prevailed against the odds, but social, political order  is often precarious and social cohesion threatened on many fronts.  

With these contemporary processes unfolding, the workshop will explore the role of  deliberation, a cornerstone of democratic politics, and one that has experienced a revival in  theory and in practice. With the arrival of the digital public sphere, scholars have addressed  topics such as the interplay of deliberative and non-deliberative practices within a political  system, and opinion formation in social networks. As a conflict resolution mechanism,  deliberation is projected as a means of enhancing participation or achieving transitional justice  for example through mini-publics and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.

In doing so, the workshop invites a critical rethinking of how state-society relations are being  re-negotiated and political participation is practised in South Asia’s contemporary divided  polities. For this purpose, the proposed academic workshop will bring scholars together to  discuss cutting-edge research on this theme across different perspectives, disciplines, and  methods. 

Of specific interest will be empirical contributions reflecting on the interactions between  diverse spaces and practices of participation and deliberation (e.g. the media, social  movements, citizen actions, institutions, the digital space); the roles these dynamic  relationships play in shaping state-society relations, citizenship, plurality, and socio-economic  inclusion in societies of South Asia.  

Through this initiative, we situate South Asia at the centre of this timely global conversation  about inclusive politics and emerging spaces of participation in contemporary societies. As a  site of observation, the region is both a field of investigation and a centre for knowledge  production.  

The workshop will be structured in an interactive format with peer-review sessions involving  in-depth discussion on the individual papers circulated beforehand. To facilitate a substantive  interaction on the research work presented and avenues for collaborative research on the  proposed theme, the workshop will involve a maximum of 12 participants. 

We are particularly interested in papers that address the following topics:  

  • Emerging methodologies in the study of deliberative practices and spaces. 
  • Interactions between micro and macro spaces of political action and their interrelated role in  shaping inclusive politics and participation.  
  • Relationships between power, legitimacy, and authority. 
  • Tensions and forms of resistances between/within different sites of engagement in the socio political sphere of South Asian societies. 
  • How spaces of participation/deliberation are reinforcing or challenging existing exclusions,  hegemonies, inequalities. Barriers to pluralism and existence of political differences.

One of the planned outcomes of the workshop is preparing a special issue in a thematic or  region specific leading academic journal.  The workshop is open to final-year PhD scholars and postdoctoral researchers interested  in seeking peer-review feedback on their research work on the above mentioned topics.

Application guidelines: Please submit your workshop application by filling this Google form with the required  information, including an abstract (max. 300 words) and a biographical note (max. 100 words)  by Friday, August 11th 2023.  Selected candidates will be notified by the end of August at the latest and are expected to submit  full papers drafts (between 6,000-7,000 words, footnotes and references included) by Friday,  October 27th 2023.


The workshop is free of charge, but participants will have to cover their own travel and  accommodation expenses.  

For any queries, please contact the workshop organisers at [email protected]