Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics  

The Covid-19 crisis has created major challenges for governments, organisations and communities all over the world. This is reflected in increasing concerns regarding ‘democratic backsliding’ and the emergence of increasingly ‘il-liberal democracies’. The use of emergency powers, limits on individual rights and restrictions on public gatherings have all in their own ways created ‘new’ questions of accountability which very often exist alongside or augment longstanding ‘old’ concerns regarding the accountability and control of politicians and public servants. The emergence of populist pressures and anti-political sentiments had in recent years already added distinctive dimensions and democratic dilemmas to the notion of accountable governance, and Covid-19 has exacerbated these concerns. The time has now come to subject those ‘questions of accountability’ to open debate and honest reflection in the hope of identifying fresh perspectives and possibly even new solutions.   

In line with an emphasis on innovation, this is not a traditional conference: it is an online conference featuring a range of live and recorded presentations and papers that engage with different questions of accountability from a range of perspectives. With an emphasis on diversity, inclusion and equality this is an open event with no fees or conference charges. A thematic catalogue of papers and presentations will be made available on-line for five weeks, with a core event on the 3rd November showcasing keynote speakers from all over the world. The conference will be hosted online by the University of Worcester and convened by Professor Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield) and Dr Chris Monaghan (University of Worcester).

There are five prizes available for best paper (in separate categories): 

  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper – Overall (£100 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Post-Graduate Student (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Early Career Researcher (five years post-PhD) (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Contribution to Theory (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Innovative Approach (£50 in books)

The conference of Papers runs from Monday 1st November to Friday 5th November 2021. The conference and the recording of the keynote speakers will be available to view for four weeks following the formal close of the conference. 

Conference Schedule

Please note that all times are UTC/GMT.

Monday 1st November

9.30-10.00 Welcome to the Conference

This session is intended to welcome delegates to the Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics conference.

Delegates will be welcomed to the University of Worcester by Professor Sarah Greer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost. 

The conference organisers, Dr Chris Monaghan and Professor Matthew Flinders, will then introduce delegates to the conference.

10.00-12.00 (Panel) Accountability, Representation and Responsiveness

The panel explores various types and conceptualizations of accountability. Mechkova’s paper develops a “gendered accountability” framework to explain when and how female representation promotes the implementation of policies that women prioritize. Furthermore, it applies the notion of a “diagonal accountability” to show that the effects of women’s parliamentary representation are magnified when women are more active in civil society. Brummel’s contribution develops an in-depth framework that provides a comprehensive definition and typology of social accountability. Guasi’s paper argues that the combination of technocracy and populism, i.e. technocratic populism, tends to undermine electoral competition (vertical accountability), judiciary independence, legislative oversight (horizontal accountability) and freedom of the press (diagonal accountability). Dimova juxtaposes the channels of achieving government accountability through electoral and non-electoral means and conjectures that more attention should be paid to non-electoral forms of accountability. 

Gendered accountability: when and why do women’s policy priorities get implemented?

Valeriya Mechkova (Varieties of Democracy Institute, Sweden)

 

Social Accountability Between Consensus and Confrontation: Developing a Theoretical Framework for Societal Accountability Relationships of Public Sector Organizations 

 Lars Brummel (Utrecht University)  

 

Populism in power and democracy: Democratic decay and resilience in the Czech Republic (2013–2020)

Petra Guasti (Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic)  

 

Is Responsiveness achieved better through Accountability or through Elections?

Gergana Dimova (Oxford University, UK)

 

12.45-14.45 (Panel) Democratic Accountability, Media and Populism

The panel approaches the issues of democratic accountability through a broad empirical and theoretical lens. Theoretically speaking, the authors are interested in the nexus between accountability, on the one hand, and populism, authoritarianism and media freedom, on the other hand. The geographical scope of the panel encompasses Brazil, China, Russia and Eastern Europe.

The panel approaches the issues of democratic accountability through a broad empirical and theoretical lens. Theoretically speaking, the authors are interested in the nexus between accountability, on the one hand, and populism, authoritarianism and media freedom, on the other hand. The geographical scope of the panel encompasses Brazil, China, Russia and Eastern Europe.

From Limited Government to Democratic Responsiveness. Revising the Liberal Notion of Accountability
Enrique Peruzzotti (University of Torcuato Di Tella, Brazil)

Authoritarian Populism and Illiberal Turn against Accountability in Brazil
Rogério Christofoletti (Federal University of Santa Catarina), Danilo Rothberg (São Paulo State University) and Fernando Oliveira Paulino (University of Brasília)

Blame Games and Problems of Accountability
Gergana Dimova (University of Oxford, UK)

Russian and Chinese Influence on Media and Governance Standards in Eastern Europe
Rumena Filipova (Institute for Global Analytics, Bulgaria)

Media-covered accountability of public agencies

Dr Sandra Jacobs

15.00-17.00 First Keynote Lecture: Impeachment and Disqualification around the World: the Dynamics of Political Escalation

This will be delivered by Professor Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago), with a response by Professor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán (University of Notre Dame).

 
Tuesday 2nd November

10.00-12.00 (Panel) PSA Parliament Group Presents: Parliamentary Committees and Accountability

The Political Studies Association Specialist Group on Parliaments invite you to attend an event featuring three academic papers on the theme of Parliamentary Committees and Accountability that will be followed by a Q&A session. 

Deliberative Accountability in Parliamentary Committees 
Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey (LSE)

Accountability in Public Committee Hearings: Who speaks, who interrupts, who equivocates? 
Marc Geddes (Edinburgh)

Do Select Committee Membership Patterns Affect Accountability? 
Stephen Holden Bates (Birmingham), Caroline Bhattacharya (Helsinki) and Stephen McKay (Lincoln)

 

13.00-15.00 Keynote Panel Discussion: Judicial Review and Accountability

Chaired by David Lock QC (Landmark Chambers), speakers include Baroness Hale of Richmond (former President of the UK Supreme Court), Baroness Kennedy QC (member of the UK House of Lords), Professor Conor Gearty (LSE), Lord Blunkett(former UK Home Secretary). 

 Wednesday 3rd November

9.00-17.00: Keynote Event

The Keynote Event will consist of a series of talks delivered by leading public thinkers, academics practitioners and politicians.

  1. Welcome Address - Lord David Neuberger
  1. ‘Has Brexit Shattered the Westminster System Beyond Repair - and, if so, what Next?’ - Professor Bruce Ackerman, Yale University
  1. ‘Accountability Expectations in a Changing World’ - Lord Blunkett, former UK Home Secretary
  1. ‘Accountability and the Constitution’ - Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King’s College London
  1. ‘Executive Powers, Fuzzy Law and the Problem of Accountability’ - Professor Margit Cohn, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  2. The title of her keynote is: ‘A Collaborative Approach to Constitutional Accountability’ - Dr Se-shauna Wheatle, Durham Law School
  1. ‘Folly and Monitory Democracy’ - Professor John Keane, University of Sydney
  1. ‘Accountable Intelligence and Charitable Scrutiny’ - Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair of the Wellcome Trust
  1. ‘Parliamentary Accountability: are the exceptions eroding the rules?’ - Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director, Institute for Government

The keynote event will take place between 9.30-12.30 and then will resume at 14.00-17.00.

 

Thursday 4th November

10.00-12.00 (Panel Discussion) University of Sheffield Presents: Front-end constitutional guardians: roles, influence, and importance.

Convened by Dr Brian Christopher Jones (School of Law, University of Sheffield) this expert panel features:

Elizabeth Gardiner (First Parliamentary Counsel), Liam Laurence Smyth (Clerk of Legislation, Public Bill Office), Jack Simson Caird (Counsel, Justice Committee) and Joanna Dawson (Commons Library). 

 

13.00-14.00 Publishing with Routledge

A 'How to Publish’ session with Alison Kirk, Senior Commissioning Editor, Routledge. The purpose of this presentation is to explain the book publishing process from approaching a publisher and preparing a book proposal through the various steps to publication. It will also provide advice and tips for converting a PhD thesis for book publication and may therefore be particularly useful for early career academics. 

 To discuss individual projects, Alison can be contacted at Alison.kirk@informa.com

15.00-17.00 Keynote Panel Discussion: Presidential Accountability – The problems and use of impeachment

Chaired by Professor Richard Albert (University of Texas), speakers include Professor Frank Bowman (University of Missouri), Karen Popp (former Associate White House Counsel), Chris Monaghan (University of Worcester) and Joshua Matz (counsel for the impeachment and trial of President Trump).

17.30-19.30 Second and Third Keynote Lectures

This session consists of the second and third keynote lectures.

 ‘Accountability, Human Rights and Welfare: Manifestly without Reasonable Foundation?’

 Professor Alison Young (University of Cambridge)

Questions of Counsel: Administration, Accountability and Policy Advice

Jonathan Slater (Visiting Professor at King’s College London and Queen Mary’s University London)

 

 

Friday 5th November

9.00-10.00 Series Launch: Routledge Frontiers in Accountability Studies

This session officially launches a brand-new book series, Routledge Frontiers in Accountability Studies. Speakers include Professor Thomas Schillemans, Dr Ellen Rock, Professor Matthew Flinders and Dr Chris Monaghan.

This series publishes state-of-the-art analyses that reflect and interrogate the shifting accountability landscape from a range of perspectives. It therefore embraces a rich seam of scholarship that encompasses the analysis of blame-games, notions of responsible government, concerns about delegation and patronage, impeachment processes, accountability institutions, crises management, multi-level governance, public trust, accountability webs and overloads, behavioural approaches, processes of privatisation and managerialism plus the cultural, historical and psychological foundations of accountability processes. The core focus or intellectual glue that binds this broad range of topics together is a recognition that the dynamics of public accountability are changing as a result of complex social, economic, cultural and technologically-driven trends. This opens the analytical and empirical terrain of the series to include private and third-sector contexts due to the comparative potential that studies of this nature might offer for understanding the emergence of accountability ‘gaps’ as traditional assumptions and processes of public accountability struggle to cope with increasingly complexity and fluidity. This is the accountability challenge that every book in this series is (implicitly or explicitly) expected to in some way address and engage with.

Books published in the Routledge Frontiers in Accountability Studies series include monographs, edited collections and shorter works by established and early-career academics from a range of disciplines that span the arts, humanities and social sciences. This includes -  but is in no way restricted to - law, political science, public administration, behavioural science, cultural studies, media and communication studies, psychology, ethnography, history and legal studies. The series explores the dynamics and dilemmas of public accountability; its many facets, and different possible interpretations. In seeking to redefine debates and understandings, this series reflects a commitment to pluralism in terms of approaches, methods and theory. Inter-disciplinary studies are particularly encouraged, as are approaches that seek to challenge dominant frameworks or ‘self-evident’ truths. Books published in the Routledge Frontiers in Accountability Studies series will be designed for a global audience, welcoming contributions that address national, comparative and international issues.

Accountability studies are particularly topical in light of the range of recent international developments which have raised concerns about the capacity of traditional forms and frameworks of public accountability to adequately control increasingly complex socio-political contexts. These developments include events surrounding the 2020 United States election, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the rise and behaviour of populist politicians and parties around the world, and the varied efforts of governments across the globe to address the impacts of COVID-19, amongst other developments. The Routledge Frontiers in Accountability Studies series offers a forum for the discussion of these and other developments through a theoretically-informed but policy-relevant lens. We welcome submissions from scholars from different countries and will place an emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion at the core of the editing process. Although scholarly quality will be the defining factor of all commissions, the editorial team will adopt a proactive approach to talent-spotting and offer mentorship and support as required. 

10.30-12.30 (Panel) The Constitution and Accountability: Hosted by Constitutions, Rights and Justice

The special research interest group Constitutions, Rights and Justice, which is based at the University of Worcester, presents a series of papers. The session is chaired by Josie Welsh (University of Worcester). The papers include:

  • What does real accountability actually mean for political constitutionalism

            Dr Robert Greally (University of Bristol)

  • Questions of Control: Accountability in the Shadow of Prorogation 

            Dr Chris Monaghan and Josie Welsh (University of Worcester)

  • Contemporary impeachment in Brazil

            Professor Carina Barbosa Gouvêa  (Federal University of Pernambuco) and Professor Pedro H. Villas Bôas Castelo Branco (State University of Rio de Janeiro) (UERJ)

  • The accountability of the Office for Students (OfS) as the statutory regulator of Higher Education Institutions under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017  

          HH Toby Hooper QC (Retired Circuit Judge) 

 

Pre-recorded material

Pre-recorded Conference Papers

In addition to the live sessions there are a number of pre-recorded conference papers that will be made available to watch as part of the conference.

  1. The “accountability deficit” in sortition: is it a problem and what is the solution?
    Fred Motson, Lecturer in Law/ Part-time PhD student, The Open University
  2. Can Blockchain Technology enhance accountability in the management of pensions transnationally?
    Lorraine Lally, Practicing Barrister and LLM Student
  3. Disciplinary liability of judges and the independence of the judiciary in comparative constitutional law
    Professor Piotr Mikuli, Jagiellonian University in Kraków
  4. Parliamentarism or Presidentialism: Does It Make a Difference (for the Accountability of the Executive Power)?
    Sonia Cruz Dávila, PhD Candidate, King’s College London
  5. The relationship between accountability in the court of public opinion on U.S foreign policymaking towards military intervention

     Jack James Clayton, PhD Candidate at SOAS, University of London

  6. Accountability and procurement during the first wave of the Covid- 19 pandemic: the Latvian experience

     Ieva Daniela Beinaroviča, Lecturer and PhD Candidate, University of Latvia

  7. Post-colonial challenges to accountability in a plural legal system: Samoa on the edge

     Dr Sue Farran, Newcastle University

  8. Parliament without Accountability? Electoral Party Platforms and Intra-Faction Coherence in the European Parliament

    Kenneth Stiller, MPhil Candidate & Giuseppe Spatafora, DPhil Candidate, both at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

  9. Technologies of Justice: Accountability in Post-Conflict Settings

    Dr Iosif Kovras, Associate Professor, Department of Social & Political Sciences, University of Cyprus

  10. The Democratic Qualities of Regulatory Agencies: Measuring Transparency, Accountability, Participation and Representation

    Libby Maman, PhD Candidate, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  11. Solving the Anisminic Puzzle:  Can Ouster Clauses Be Reconciled with Accountability?

    Edward Lui,BCL Candidate, Magdalen College, University of Oxford

  12. Executive Accountability and National Security

    Professor Lorna Woods OBE, University of Essex, Dr Lawrence McNamara, University of York, and Dr Judith Townend, University of Sussex

  13. Towards persuasive accountability; accountability in post-truth era

    Genki Kimura, Government Fellow, Ministry of Finance of Japan; candidate to MPhil in Socio-Legal Research, University of Oxford

  14. An International Ombudsman to make Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) more accountable? Too good to be true...

    Dr. Domenico Carolei, Lecturer- Law Division, University of Stirling

  15. The UK Law Officer Regime, Constitutional Legitimacy, and Questions of Accountability

    Dr Conor McCormick, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast

  16. Corporate Accountability reappraised and reinvigorated

    Doug Wotherspoon, Senior Lecturer, University of Worcester

  17. The Gordian Knot between Originator Control and EU Intelligence Oversight: Insights from Coopetition Theory

    Sofiya Kartalova

  18. The Problematic Nature of Technology and Accountability in the Modern State

    Bill Morcom (Associate Member of the Constitutions, Rights and Justice special research interest group)

  19. Power with(out) responsibility? A comparative analysis of ‘effective accountability’ across public algorithmic governance

    Dr Ido Sivan-Sevilla, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

 

  

Conference Organisers

The conference is a collaboration between the University of Worcester and the University of Sheffield. It is kindly supported by the Political Studies Association, the UK Constitutional Law Association and Routledge.

The organisers are:

Professor Matthew Flinders, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield Email: m.flinders@sheffield.ac.uk  Twitter: @PoliticalSpike

Chris Monaghan, School of Law, University of Worcester Email: c.monaghan@worc.ac.uk Twitter: @Chris_JMonaghan

For information on For information on 'Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics' registrationthe call for papers, the format of the conferenceaccessing the conferencepublications arising from the conference, Invited Speakers, Q&A and the Conference Organisation Team please see our relevant webpages.     

 

Twitter:  #Qofaccountability2021 

 

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