The SPSA Annual Conference 2020
will take place at University of Lucerne
from 3rd until 4th February

Download detailed meeting program

The SVPW|SPSA Annual Congress 2020

Guiding Theme 2020

The de- and re-nationalization of political conflicts in a digital age

The digital transformation has traditionally been understood as a facilitator of processes of globalization: the digital knows no borders. Recently and somewhat paradoxically, digitalization seems to facilitate the rise of particularistic identities and interests, as well. For example, it could be argued that digitalization, as the herald of financial and economic globalization and the transformation of industrial into informational societies, has contributed to the revitalization of nationalism. This conference seeks to explore the tension between the border-transcending and border-reinforcing tendencies in the process of digitalization.

Congress Program 2020

Monday, 3rd February

  • 11:00-15.00: Conference Registration
  • 12:00-13:30: SVPW Board Meeting (Room 4.B46)
  • 13:30-15:00: Panel 1
  • 15:00-15:30: Coffee Break    
  • 15:30-17:00: SVPW General Assembly (Room HS9)
    Including a presentation of the report on doctors and postdocs in political science
  • 17:00-19:00: Plenary Session (Room HS1)
    «Cultural Backlash and Authoritarian Populism in Digital Societies»
    Keynote Input: Prof. Pippa Norris
    Roundtable discussion
  • 19:00-20:00: Apéro    
  • 20:15: Dinner (Hotel Radisson Blu)


Tuesday, 4th February

  • 08:00-10:00: Conference Registration
  • 09:00-10:30: Panel 2
  • 10:30-11:00: Coffee Break
  • 11:00-12:30: Panel 3
  • 12:30-13:30: Lunch
  • 13:30-15:00: Panel 4
  • 15:00-15:30: Coffee Break
  • 15:30-17:00: Panel 5
  • 09:00-13:30: Information event about master programs in political science

Download meeting program

Keynote Speech

Cultural Backlash and Authoritarian Populism in Digital Societies

Authoritarian populists have disrupted politics in many digital societies, as exemplified by Donald Trump in the U.S. and Brexit in the UK. Authoritarian populist parties have gained votes and seats in many countries, and entered government in states as diverse as Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. Across Europe, their average share of the vote in parliamentary elections remains limited but it has more than doubled since the 1960s and their share of seats tripled. Even small parties can still exert tremendous ‘blackmail’ pressure on governments and change the policy agenda, as demonstrated by UKIP’s role in catalyzing Brexit. The danger is that populism undermines public confidence in the legitimacy of liberal democracy while authoritarianism actively corrodes its principles and practices. This presentation sets out a general theory explaining polarization over the cultural cleavage dividing social liberals and social conservatives in the electorates and how these values translate into support for Authoritarian-Populist parties and leaders in the U.S. and Europe. This talk pays special attention to the role of digital societies in either reinforcing or countering the rise of authoritarian populists. The conclusion highlights the dangers to liberal democracy arising from social media and what could be done to mitigate the risks.

We thank Lucerne Tourism for the support.

Register now for the Annual Congress 2020!

to the registration