Department of Culture and Learning

Seminar on Democratic Transformations: Towards Political and Social Change

Aalborg University
Venue: Kroghstræde 3, room 4.112
23rd -24th of January 2014

Photograph by Sergio Ruiz under Creative Commons license

General description

The Arab spring in 2011 initiated a new cycle of social struggles that expanded to other places in the world: Spain, Greece, USA, Mexico, Turkey and Brazil. Despite all their particularities, two main characteristics can easily be identified: a new vigorous civil society that claims its right to be heard and the questioning of democracy as a mere system of representativeness, which relies exclusively on political parties.

In this seminar we want to address this dual challenge: what is the role of civil society and how does it contribute to social and political change? And how can political parties be more receptive to civil society and increase the mechanism of participation for citizens?

There are no simple answers to these relevant issues. Therefore we propose a dialogue between representatives from civil society organizations, scholars and politicians in order to share knowledge and practices and to try to find possible ways of thinking about a more inclusive and participatory democracy.

Questions such as the following will be used as a starting point to initiate the discussion:

  • How can we conceptualize the civil society reactions to the economic and political-cultural crisis?
  • Which social experiments are already taking place in Europe and how do they challenge the system in crisis and its politics of austerity?
  • What can the political parties do, from a Danish perspective, to expand the limits of democracy and open up politics towards citizens?
  • Which social experiments are taking place in Denmark and how do they contribute to social change and rethinking the political agenda?


As mentioned, the seminar is an attempt to strengthen the connections between academia, civil society and political parties and to establish a common framework of discussion, based on dialogue and mutual learning, which is not only Danish but also European.

This event should be the beginning of common thinking and the creation of a network to explore possible ways of cooperation and activities in the future.

A more concrete and immediate aim is to promote spaces of reflection with a European perspective, since the coming European elections remind us of the importance of thinking about and developing a Europe by and for the citizens.


Anyone (activists, students, scholars, citizens…) who is interested in the topic is very welcome to participate in the seminar and contribute with his/her opinions, experiences and points of view.

The participation is completely free of charge but prior registration is necessary.

See also our Facebook group


Political and Social Change - Book series

Bak Jorgensen, Martin / Garcia Agustin, Oscar
ISSN: 2198-8595

“Political and Social Change” is a multidisciplinary series dedicated to the analysis and understanding of changes in modern society. It includes topics such as democratic transformations, cultural dynamics, genealogies of change, collective identities, articulation of alternative discourses, and the role of civil society in processes of change. It covers both historical readings and contemporary studies. It directs attention toward multi-scalar changes in the global world where local, national and transnational practices are intertwined. The series welcomes innovative theoretical approaches in the field of social and political change as well as applied studies that offer new insight about the mentioned topics. It is open to edited volumes and monographs and welcomes comparative studies and transnational perspectives.

Please visit the website for Political and Social Change


Practical information