MINELRES: Conference announcement: Hurst Seminar on Reform and Democracy in Local Government of Countries in Transformation

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Tue Nov 25 16:37:59 2003

Original sender: Ivana Djuric <djuriciva@hotmail.com>

"Hurst Seminar on Reform and Democracy in Local Government of Countries
in Transformation"
May 23-24, 2004
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

Invitation to Participate

Sponsored by Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society (Ben
Gurion University (BGU)); Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies &
Diplomacy (BGU); Department of Politics and Government (BGU); Lynn and
Lloyd Hurst Family Chair in Local Government (BGU); Research Committees
on Local Government and Politics & Public Policy and Administration of
the International Political Science Association, French Center for
Academic and Cultural Cooperation (CEFIC) in Beer Sheva, Israel.

The members of the steering committee are Prof. Fred Lazin (BGU) chair, 
Prof. Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot (CERVL-CNRS/ Sciences Po Bordeaux,
Dr. Nimrod Hurvitz (BGU), Dr. Cedric Parizot, CEFIC,  Dr. Joel Peters
Prof. Renee Poznanski and Prof. Hellmut Wollmann  (Humboldt University,

We want to bring together scholars to discuss issues in institutional
reform and democratic participation in local level government in both
more developed and newer nations. We hope to deal with the situation in
Israel and The Palestinian Authority as well as other countries in
Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the European Union.

The venue for the conference will be Ben Gurion University in Beer
Sheva, Israel. There will be a pre-conference reception on Saturday
evening May 23, 2004. The conference will be held on Sunday May 23 and
Monday May 24, 2004. Sponsors will make every effort to cover hotel,
meal and domestic travel costs in Israel for presenters at the
conference. Most participants will have to arrange and pay for their own

Call for Papers

Building a local government system remains a huge challenge. According
to the politically correct credo shared by influential international
organizations, contemporary modern states have no choice but to
implement far-ranging decentralization programs in order to foster “good
governance”. Almost everywhere –in former highly centralized states
including France, Japan and former Communist countries in Central and
Eastern Europe - transferring power and responsibilities from the
national to the regional or local level ranks among the top priorities
of central governments.

We need to measure and to analyze in an international comparative
perspective what are the main objectives and achievements of the various
reforms intended to build or to restructure local government systems in
Israel, Middle Eastern and European countries. Despite many
dissimilarities based on various historical and institutional
contingencies, most of these states have been experimenting in the last
decade with new rules of the politico-administrative game intended to
make their local authorities more efficient in the production of
services and more responsive to their citizens.

To contrast recent developments in so-called “old regimes” with the deep
(and often less visible) transformations of younger nations should be a
particularly stimulating angle of comparative analysis. Together or
separately, two main waves of reforms would have to be addressed by

* The process of reform at the local level; the formation and
development of specific local bodies along a specific institutional
design, central-local relationships, bureaucratic differentiation,
influence, transfer and implementation of external/ foreign experiences,
setting up of a local finances system, etc….

*   the consolidation of local democratic arrangements and rules:
adoption of a set of electoral rules corresponding to a predominant
conception of power and its distribution, including mechanisms intended
to organize majority/ minority relationships and to manage ethnic,
social and political conflicts, in a more or less consensual style;
internal political organization of local authorities, influence and role
of the citizens, of the organized groups, and of service clients or

Interested participants should submit a paper title, an abstract of up
to 300 words and a CV. The first due date for proposals is January 15,

All proposals should be sent to:

Prof. Fred Lazin
Department of Government and Politics
Ben Gurion University
Beer Sheva, Israel 84105

Fax: 972 8 6477242
Tel: 972 8 646 9937