The theme of the conference is Political Trust in Contemporary Representative Democracies. Democratic representation seems to be in a crisis, at least from the citizen perspective. This is most notoriously observed in the low and still decreasing levels of political trust in the main institutions of democratic representation (parliaments, governments), social and political institutions of aggregation of interest (political parties and unions), and even international and supranational political and economic institutions. Citizens seem to be more and more critical towards these institutions essential for the political, economic and social order of contemporary representative democracies. This is a particularly notable problem in today’s world, given the already visible consequences. Citizen distrust can lead to significant threats to representative democracy such as political populism, increased levels of political protest and decreased levels of citizens involvement in electoral politics, the emergence of radical, non-systemic parties, and even increased political violence.
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