Call for papers on digital authoritarianism


Are you passionate about defending democracy and human rights in the digital age? The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute invites you to participate in their call for papers on "Decrypting Digital Authoritarianism: How the Use of the Internet Can Threaten Democracy and Human Rights." The papers will inform a conference on the topic, taking place on 28 and 29 October 2024 in Florence. It aims to shed light on the concerning rise of digital authoritarianism around the world.

Please find the detailed call for papers of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies here:

© Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash; Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies

Authoritarian regimes worldwide are increasingly using the internet in ways that undermine its open, free, safe and secure nature. Recognising this trend, scholars from various disciplines have intensified their research efforts to understand the effects of these digital practices on societal development, human rights, democracy and international security. However, the discussions have remained fragmented across disciplines, leaving gaps in understanding the phenomenon.

Fostering interdisciplinary dialogue on digital authoritarianism

The conference in Florence seeks to address these gaps by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue. Among others, the following questions are in the focus:

  1. Conceptual exploration: What constitutes digital authoritarianism, and how do we distinguish it from legitimate internet usage? What are the evolving practices, and what methodologies are needed to study them?
  2. Practical insights: What tools and mechanisms are used by digital authoritarian regimes? How do these practices impact different stakeholder groups, and what are the leading counter-practices?
  3. Impact assessment: How are digital authoritarian practices evolving over time, and what is their global impact? Are these practices consolidating authoritarian regimes, and what countermeasures have proven effective?
  4. Governance considerations: How does digital authoritarianism influence global governance of the digital domain? What mechanisms do authoritarian regimes use to shape global perceptions, and how do other actors influence these regimes?

Conference tracks: policy and technology

The conference will feature panel discussions and roundtables, with papers organised in two tracks: policy and technology. The policy track focuses on understanding digital authoritarian practices and their societal impact, while the technology track delves into the technical processes behind these practices.

Presenters are expected to deliver short papers of 4,000-5,000 words, with selected papers to be published in an edited volume. The organisers will produce an event report with recommendations for the incoming European Union leadership following the 2024 elections.

Call for participation

Scholars who wish to participate in the conference are invited to submit abstracts and short bios online by 29 March 2024. Selected authors will be notified by 19 April 2024, and are expected to submit draft papers by 18 October 2024.

The conference welcomes submissions from scholars worldwide, with travel expenses covered for selected authors. For additional information, interested individuals may contact conference organisers Prof. Stephanie Hofmann ( and Prof. Patryk Pawlak (

Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to the discussion about digital authoritarianism and its implications for democracy and human rights!

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