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Colloquium Political Organisations of Crossborder Minorities

Online Colloquium “Political Organisations of Crossborder Minorities” organised jointly by the Institute for Minority Rights (EURAC), Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict (Queens University Belfast), IPSA RC14 Politics and Ethnicity , IPSA RC28 Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance, PSA Specialist Group Ethnopolitics and the UACES CRN Reimagining Territorial Politics in Times of Crisis, 15–16 June 2021


Political organisations of minorities play a unique role in giving ‘voice’ to electorates that oftentimes are deemed marginal in national politics. Our colloquium invites analysis of parties which build upon their relationships with ethnoregional, ethnocultural and/or ethnopolitical voter base in Europe’s nation-states. Existing scholarship is divided on the terminology calling such political organisations, ethnic, minority, regional, ethnoregional, as well as ethnoregionalist parties; and explores a wide variety of organisations serving a territorially distinct segment of the national electorate when operating in regions of states where borders have historically moved around people. A subsegment of such parties, however, is acknowledged to avail of unique mobilisation resource for their voters: they appeal to their constituency’s (real or perceived) kinship with the majority in a neighbouring state to mobilise at the electoral day.


We invite contributions focussing on political organisations that make use of and mobilise their ‘kinship appeal’ to leverage power at the centre of the national state, as well as in the regions where their constituencies are based. There are three potential avenues to explore the dynamics of  ‘kinship appeal’ in parties relationships with 1/ their voters, i.e. ethnic segment of the electorate, 2/ their competitors, i.e. other (domestic) parties, and 3/ state institutions, i.e. domestic and kin-state institutions.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Do voters encourage or tolerate parties engagement with cross-border, ‘kinship’ issues?, In which ways does the appeal to ‘kinship’ impact the relationships between voters and their elected representative from the parties?
  • How do minority parties engage programmatic issues in their interactions with other political organisations? Is ‘kinship appeal’ a strategic resource for opposition to or participation in government? How do minority parties balance and how they intertwine ethnocultural and other initiatives when engaging in legislative activity in domestic institutions?
  • Do parties engage with and advocate institutional reforms in their states and regions, while challenging the existing modes of political representation by aligning with an external kin-state? How do minority, ethnic, regional/ist parties address the challenge of dominant nation-state model as the foundations for participation in politics even if they mobilise their electoral segment around the ‘kinship appeal’?
  • Does ‘kinship appeal’ play a role in democratic reform of institutions, or is it an instrument allowing kin-states to ‘blackmail’ states of residence?


We invite proposals for individual paper contributions and/or panels that engage empirically, conceptually and normatively with these issues. We aim to feature the best of contemporary research on political representation of minorities and their contribution to democratic governance, including new research by established academics as well as by early career scholars.


Please submit your expression of interest here. Proposals for papers should include contact details of the author(s), title and an abstract of no more than 200 words. We are also open to panel proposals. Deadline for expressions of interest is May 16, though we will appreciate early expressions of interest. Given the short timeline, we anticipate that not all participants will be able to submit full papers for the conference and welcome contributions that set agenda for research and /or offer reflection on research contributions that can inform the debate on the role of ‘kinship appeal’.