Call for Abstracts - Paradigmatic Insights in Polity Studies

Paradigmatic Insights in Polity Studies

From Analytical to Generative Modelling Paradigms of Polity Dynamics

Guest Editors:

Camelia Florela Voinea,,
Department of Public Policies, International Relations and Security Studies, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest

Martin Neumann,
Institute for Sociology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Klaus G. Troitzsch,
University Koblenz-Landau

In the contemporary world context and under highly unstable and volatile social, economic and political evolutions, communities and their common resources as well as nation-states and their geopolitical contexts need to be approached in their very complexity. This would allow scientists, institutional experts, and politicians to properly understand and build-up realistic expectations regarding the potential evolutions of polities’ and international relations’ regional and global dynamics.

As dramatically revealed by the COVID-19 phenomenology, the state has once again became the subject of intensive research regarding the level of public trust in state institutions and governmental public policies all over the world. Facing the global pandemics as one of the most complex and dangerous challenges in the history of mankind, the well-known issues of state operation, state resilience against threat, state flexibility in the crisis management or governance capacity to answer people’s expectations appear as most relevant and most problematic as well.

The paradigmatic approaches in polity/state research evolve essentially between two historical periods: the gradual consolidation of survey research starting with the 1960s, and the fast development of the methodologies based on the advanced technologies of the artificial starting with the 1980s. Beginning with the classic concepts of political system (Easton, 1953) and open polity (Almond and Verba, 1963) the research paradigms employed in the study of governance have covered structural-functional aspects of the state operation, requiring an intensive use of survey data and state modelling research methodologies explaining collective perceptions, behaviors and attitudes toward policies and state institutions. Approaching the polity complexity in modelling its emergence, structural complexity, and operational dynamics, the agent-based research methodologies provided the backgrounds for a paradigmatic shift toward computational and simulation polity modelling which has covered mostly conflict-oriented research (Axelrod, 1995; Cedermann, 1997; Cioffi-Revilla et al., 2008; Cioffi-Revilla et al., 1999).

In between, various paradigmatic dimensions of state research have been imbricated into a sophisticated methodological picture which covers interdisciplinary research approaches able to explain the state dynamics and anticipate its evolutions by employing computational technologies, the technologies of the artificial, and the huge resources of empirical data made available by the complex public surveys and the web technologies for socializing networks. Governance models (Marsh, 2011), political and cultural theories about the state (Rhodes and Bevir, 2010; Ferguson and Mansbach, 1996) as well as international relations and peacebuilding conceptual approaches (Lemay-Hebert, 2011; Richmond, 2009) require not only revisiting classic state concept, but mainly renewing the classes of methodologies which could appropriately unify the diversities of theoretical views into classes of proper instruments for state studies. 

As state research is not definitely covering a single research domain, but it is rather distributed in various and sometimes distant areas of research, some possible topics for contributions within this framework include the following:

  • data collection, storage, processing and communication technologies including big data, GIS and satellite transmissions play an essential role in the study of contemporary state entities by providing the means of understanding the complexity of their organization and of their dynamic space and temporal evolution, formation, failure or disintegration, and, eventually, post-failure re-construction, and emergence of new polities
  • political culture research has also proved its decisive role in shaping the forces able to drive polity dynamics by means of political participation, collective perceptions, collective behaviour, collective action, community dynamics, common resource management or political regime change
  • In the area of international relations, decision under risk and security studies, polity modelling has been usually based on the concepts of ‘territory’, ‘conflict’, ‘power’, or ‘welfare’, trying to explain polity (in)stability, polity weaknesses or polity resilience against internal and external threat. Current polity modelling paradigms extend however the modelling competences and their explanatory power aiming to cover the complexity of the relationships between political power and political leadership, governance, society, and political culture
  • relevance and utility of anticipatory systems and political anticipation as complex tools and frameworks for studying polities in their dynamic contexts and evolutions

This list is not exhaustive: it merely illustrates the type of research that will fit well in the Q&Q Special Section Issue while leaving open the list of connected issues and areas of contribution.

All submitted manuscripts must fully adhere to the Q&Q general author guidelines. Submitted manuscripts are not allowed to have been previously published, nor must they be under consideration by other journals.

How to submit
Send an Email with your abstracts (max. 400-500 words) to the Guests Editors:
Camelia Florela Voinea -
Martin Neumann -, and Klaus G. Troitzsch -
by 31 March 2021.

Decisions will be sent by 31 April 2021.

If you are invited to submit a full paper, it will be due by 31 July 2021

Full papers will be submitted through the Editorial Manager (authors have to specify in the additional information that they are submitting their paper specifically to the Q&Q Special Issue “Paradigmatic Insights in Polity Studies”).

Deadline for submission of full papers: 31 July 2021

Almond, G., Verba, S. (1963) The Civic Culture, Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations, Sage.

Axelrod, R. (1995) A Model of the Emergence of New Political Actors, in: N. Gilbert and R. Conte (Eds.), Artificial Societies: The Computer Simulation of Social Life, London: University College Press.

Cederman, L.-E. (1997) Emergent Actors in World Politics: How States and Nations Develop and Dissolve, Princeton University Press.

Cioffi‐Revilla, C., Landman, T. (1999) Evolution of Maya Polities in the Ancient Mesoamerican System, International Studies Quarterly Vol.43, Issue 4, pp. 559-598.

Cioffi-Revilla, C., Rogers, J.D., Wilcox, S.P., and Alterman, J. (2008) Computing the Steppes: Data Analysis for Agent-Based Modelling of Polities in Inner Asia, in: Proceedings of the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA, August 28–31, 2008.

Easton, D. (1953) The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Ferguson, Y.H., Mansbach, R.W. (1996) Polities: Authority, Identities, and Change, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Lemay-Hebert, N. (2011) The Bifurcation of the Two Worlds: Assessing the Gap Between the Internationals and Locals in State-Building Processes, Third World Quarterly 32(10): 1823-1841.

Marsh, D. (2011) The New Orthodoxy: The Differentiated Polity Model, Public Administration Vol. 88, Issue 1, pp.32-48.

Rhodes, R. A. W., Bevir, M. (2010) The state as cultural practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richmond, O.P. (2009) The romanticisation of the local: welfare, culture and peacebuilding’, International Spectator, 44(1): 149-169.

Sassen, S. (2006) Territory, Authority, Rights. From Medieval to Global Assemblages, Princeton: Princeton University Press.