500 political experts gathered in Pisa for the ECPR conference: "Our contribution to understanding global trends and society in a changing world"

Transformation of national and global institutions, democratic issues with particular attention to the rights of citizenship and the integration of foreign citizens, the relationship between citizens and elites that can cause populism in its various forms,  but also the issues related to environmental protection and the "gender equality " problem. Political scientists of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) gathered in Pisa at the annual conference, tried to diagnose our changing world.

 The "States-General" of political science and international relations attracted to Italy more than 500 teachers, researchers, students and experts who did their work according to established but original formula, they chose their own topics in order to develop a supranational approach based on individual merit, a non-hierarchical method which worked fine. For the first time in 44 years this formula has resulted in the Conference promoted and hosted by all three universities in Pisa: Sant'Anna School for Advanced Studies, University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore.

 The conference was preceded by preparatory hard work based on the formula that provides for the establishment of working groups composed of about twenty experts who are required to address several  topics, selected among more than one hundred recommended by the scientific community on the basis of meritocracy (best proposals that beat the competition), non-hierarchical (the proposals are presented by professors at the beginning of their career or by young experts, sometimes by students still doing their Ph.D.) and non-national. Then,  the two co-directors of different nationalities  have selected the best  25 "papers"  for the 2016 Pisa conference.

The topics chosen for discussion in Pisa appear to be an accurate reflection of changes in political science matters but also of the "state of the world". In fact, we can see the four main issues  for debate.

The first topic focuses on the transformation of national institutions, European and global, devoting attention to the creation and the decay of political organizations (starting with political parties), the efficiency in government and policies, to the transformation of public deliberation and the impact of the Internet, the emergence of a "global governance".  Further topics of debate is the issue of democracy, citizenship, and integration of foreign-born people . The third issue addresses the crucial question of the relationship between elites and non-elite populations covering "hot issues" such as political leadership, communication (especially on social networks), the populism as a  disruptive force. Finally, the biggest global challenges related to the environment, to the “gender issues”, violence, protest, legitimacy and democracy.

"Facing our changing world, political scientists propose explanations and interpretations often divergent, but, they help to better understand the controversial issues and the problems we are experiencing. We think political scientists can make a significant contribution to clearly define the issues, in the common interest " – summarizes Yves Meny, ECPR conference scientific committee member and president of Sant'Anna School.