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Summer School - Collaborative Local Government for an Open Society, 9 July - 14 July 2018, Hungary

Publish Date: Oct 31, 2017

Deadline: Mar 20, 2018

Collaborative local government for an open society

The 2018 Training School on “Collaborative local government for an open society” is one of the long-lasting series of summer course for Ph.D. students interested in local government issues. It is co-organized by the European Urban Research Association and Standing Group for Local Government and Politics of ECPR, and gives an opportunity to develop the understanding of comparative local government studies in Europe and to discuss Ph.D. dissertation with experienced professors of different disciplines and coming from different countries.

The shift from government to governance together with the contextual changes (including globalization and European integration) has pushed local governments to operate in a complex environment of networks of cooperation with other public, business and societal actors. At the same time, frequent disappointment with traditional mechanisms of representative democracy mechanisms has led to phenomena such as decreasing trust in (local) public authorities, lowering turn-out in elections or vanishing membership in national political parties. This has also given incentives to experiments and innovations related to new forms of community involvement and citizens’ participation in local governance.

Additionally, there is a new agenda dealing with urban issues such as megacities, smart cities, urban poverty, environmental risks and climate change, global sub-urbanism, social innovation and economic recovery. The UN Habitat III conference in Quito, where the New Urban Agenda of the UN for the next decades has been agreed upon, for sure was the event with highest international recognition in this regard.

In this context, local self-government is largely understood as a set of rules and regulations that secure and enable the capacity of a local community to govern its problems in a way that is accepted as legitimate. There is widespread consensus that this goes beyond the formal regulations of government but includes the involvement of communities.

The concept of “open society” might be helpful in understanding current challenges and formulating recommendations for new policies. Against this background we invite applications from PhD candidates working on topics such as inclusive leadership, migration, decentralization, collaborative governance, participatory governance and local democracy and conflict resolution. However, PhD topics such as national or European urban policies are welcome as well.

Course format:

The academic programme consists of six working days, and includes both lectures and workshop-discussions. One of the days is fully focused on methodological issues. The typical summer school day is divided into two parts: (i) mornings lectures and discussions of specific topics related to the general theme of the summer school, (ii) afternoon presentations and discussions of students’ papers. Students are expected to give a brief presentations of their PhD research. Each of the papers will have an assigned discussant from among other students and will be also commented on by the faculty. The programme will also include the guided tour of Budapest with a focus on local government structure and urban regeneration projects.

Target group

The main target are Ph.D. students working on dissertations with topics connected to local government.


Ph.d. students working on local government issues are the main target group of the course. This implies, at least, basic knowledge of local government related topics and advancement in research methodologies.
However, we are open to accept also participants recruiting from interested practitioners (such as city mayors) and young PhDs (less than 5 years) from disciplines such as administrative science, law, economics, public management, sociology, political science, planning, urban geography or history interested in the overall topic.

Language requirement

The language of instruction is English, thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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