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2015 Edition | Programme | LecturerAccomodation, Fees and Scholarships​ | Application​​

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  • 2-6 February 2015 in Innsbruck (Tyrol, Austria)
  • 9-13 February 2015 in Bolzano/Bozen (South Tyrol, Italy)

The first week of the Winter School on Federalism and Governance (2-6 February 2015) takes place at the Faculty of​ Law and at the School of Political Science and Sociology, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Austria; the second week (9-13 February 2015) at the Institute for Studies on Federalism and Regionalism, European Academy Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC), Italy. The Winter School will last 10 days divided into lectures and discussion sessions, interactive workshops, study visits in Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen and a public lecture. 

Please note that it is not possible to attend only one week of the programme.

The 2015 edition of the Winter School on Federalism and Governance will focus on "Federalism and Democratic Participation".


In many countries, trust in traditional mechanisms of democracy is on the decline and discussion about how to improve democratic structures through greater citizen participation is increasing. This issue is much more complex in multilevel systems, such as as federal and regional states, or in compound systems like the European Union, where decisions are made on different levels of government by different decision-makers.


The two-week programme will analyse the methods, instruments and forms of democratic participation in multilayered systems and will present important case studies from various countries, for example, Switzerland or Canada, as well as the Council of Europe and the European Union. Furthermore, the Winter School will discuss recent political processes such as the regional referendums on independence in Scotland or Catalonia.
Special attention will be paid to several cases studies of countries with sub-national units to explain how their democratic structures operate in a multilevel system. Finally, in interactive sessions, participants will also learn about democratic participation in several policy fields such as environmental protection, infrastructural projects or cross-border cooperation.

The Winter School will examine a series of issues:

  • What has caused the crisis of the traditional decision-making processes and the loss of trust in the representative institutions?
  • What is the link between representative, direct and participatory democracy?
  • Can federalism be a useful governance tool for increased citizen participation in decision-making structures?
  • How can federalism contribute to the improvement of democratic structures?
  • What practices are reported at subnational level?
  • How do decision-making processes affect citizens (and non-citizens) at different governance levels?
  • Which policy fields are affected by new forms of participatory democracy?
  • What constitutional arrangements can accommodate participatory instruments into the constitutional framework of multilayered states?
  • Can local and regional autonomies foster democracy? If yes, are these levels of government better suited for forms of participatory democracy?
  • Is a referendum a way to secession?
  • What lessons can be learned from comparative practice?
  • Why does it make sense to include subnational constitutionalism in the big picture rather than regarding states as black boxes and their constitutions as monolithic?
  • What principles guide the interactions within the compound European constitutional system?
  • Is subsidiarity effectively guaranteed or merely a fig leaf?
  • What framework does multilevel constitutionalism provide for decision-making process that have been described as multilevel governance?
  • How are citizens (and non-citizens) concerned by these decision-making processes?
  • Is multilevel constitutionalism a strictly European phenomenon or are similar developments conceivable in other parts of the world?
  • What lessons can be learned from comparative practice?

The Winter School 2015 examines these and other questions by combining theoretical expertise, relevant case studies and political experience.

Please click here to download the (draft) timetable of the Winter School 2015.

One half-day of the Winter School the group of participants will be broken up into four small workshops and will discuss different topics with experts on...

A) Participation and Secession Referenda
B) Participatory Forms in Multilevel Environmental Protection
C) Participatory Instruments in Infrastructural Projects
D) Participation in Crossborder Contexts

In the application the applicants must select one of these four topics to be discussed in the workshop and submit an abstract in the application form (please see further details at Application).

At the end of the Winter School, a certificate of attendance will be awarded to participants attending at least 95% of all classes. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to submit a working paper after the Winter School (not compulsory!). The best papers will be considered for publication. Further details will be available during the Winter School.​

2015 Edition | Programme | LecturerAccomodation, Fees and Scholarships​ | Application​​

<- Back to general info 

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