Call for contributions: the relationship of liberal democracy and racism

Edited volume “The Crisis and Future of Representative Democracy”

Background & objectives

Democracy is in jeopardy. The rise and rise of authoritarian populism as well as the accompanying polarisation of politics and sustained attacks on the fundamental norms and foundations of liberal democracy in Europe and elsewhere have made that clear. Yet these symptoms are also reflective of a much longer decline of institutions in contemporary liberal representative democracies. Low levels of electoral participation, low levels of trust in government and political institutions, erosion of mainstream parties and party membership, fragmentation of the political landscape, and the decline of established channels to represent and mediate societal interests (parties, unions) epitomise this long-term trend.

The relationship of liberal democracy and racism

With its emphasis on human rights, equality, justice, freedom and participation, liberal representative democracy appears to hold many promises for marginalised and racialised people.  Yet reality tells a different story with racism, discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion continuing across liberal representative democracies. Potential questions to be addressed by this chapter may include (but are not limited to):

  • How fundamental is the relationship between racism/exclusion and liberal democracy?
  • How important are, respectively, liberal ideas of rights and freedoms and liberal economic principles in this relationship?
  • What are the prospects for overcoming racism, discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion within the framework of existing liberal representative democracy? What could be specific proposals for (institutional) reform or public policy in order to achieve this?
  • What are realistic scenarios for the mid- to long-term democratisation of democracy along these lines?

We invite papers focussing on these and other questions linked to the rise (and defeat) of authoritarian populism in Europe. Original empirical research is welcome but not required, however the paper’s argument must be supported by empirical evidence from cross-national qualitative or quantitative (case) analysis.


  • Papers should be no longer than 9,000 words, excluding list of references, and written in (British) English.
  • Contributions should be written with an informed, non-specialist audience in mind, targeting specifically practitioners, activists, stakeholders, politicians and other political actors on the left/progressive spectrum.
  • Contributions must adhere to referencing standards and the RLS style guide, which will be shared with authors whose proposals are accepted for publication.
  • Potential authors should be aware of the minimum of two rounds of review and revision anticipated, plus language editing, if applicable, which will require quick turnarounds September-November 2020.
  • The timeline is non-negotiable unless modified by RLS Brussels.
  • We offer 3.000€ for each paper (to be invoiced by the contractor and paid by RLS Brussels after completion of the revision/editing process).

The book

This edited volume to which this chapters contributes will bring together scholars, researchers, activists and practitioners to discuss the state of democracy as well as to explore potential future developments in contemporary liberal representative democracy. It aims to take stock of and analyse the problems of contemporary democracy in Europe from a left-wing perspective. Second, it seeks to explore approaches to transforming democratic representation, participation and governance at any level (local, regional, national, supranational/transnational) with a view to forging an inclusive, equal, free, just and sustainable society.


  • Submission of abstracts: Tuesday, 07 July 2020, 11:00 AM CEST
  • Notification to authors: Friday 10 July 2020
  • Submission of full papers: Tuesday, 7 September 2020
  • Minimum of two rounds of review & revision: September–November 2020 (submission dates TBC)
  • Language editing: December 2020–January 2021 (dates TBC)
  • Publication: Spring 2021


Abstracts of up to 1,000 words outlining the proposed argument and approach must be submitted to Ada Regelmann at, subject line: “[your name]Abstract: The Crisis and Future of Democracy”, by Tuesday, 07 July 2020, 11 AM CEST. Late submissions will not be considered.

Call for contributions: The Crisis and Future of Representative DemocracyPDF file