Joint RC28-RC14-RC50 Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 16-18 September 2015

Supported by:

  • Research Group on Plurinational Societies (Canada)
  • Centre on Constitutional Change and School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh


University of Edinburgh, 16-18 September 2015

A year after the people of Scotland rejected a referendum for independence, the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee 28 Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance met in Edinburgh for a conference on “Rethinking Territoriality: Between Independence and Interdependence”. The three-day conference on 16-18 September 2015 was held jointly with RC 14 Politics and Ethnicity and RC 50 The Politics of Language. It took place under the auspices of the Centre on Constitutional Change and enjoyed the support of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science, the Research Group on Plurinational Societies of the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the International Political Science Association

Edinburgh 15b The conference drew over eighty participants from over a dozen countries and virtually all continents. In over twenty panels, they presented and discussed topics of territorial organization and reorganization, including sub-state nationalist and regionalist parties, multi-level party politics, identity construction, language regimes, conflict resolution, self-government in multinational states, as well as on managing horizontal, fiscal, and various policy-dynamics. Throughout the conference, the Scottish case took center stage by raising questions regarding the design of Scotland’s new fiscal framework, the role of women in post-referendum Scotland, and the depiction of the Scottish referendum in the media.

Edinburgh 15aAs part of the meeting, IPSA-RC 28 members met with members of the Scottish Parliament to discuss salient territorial reforms and applicable best practices. Most notably, RC 28’s vice-chair, Prof. Thomas Lancaster, Emory University, outlined reasons and benefits of strong federal accountability structures, while RC 28’s executive board member Dr Dirk Brand  stressed the importance of creating flexible intergovernmental processes and structures that can deal effectively with the dynamic nature of intergovernmental relations, and fiscal arrangements that are constitutionally based.

Edinburgh 15cAt the margins of this conference, RC 28’s executive, members, and friends met to discuss annual business, including a significant growth in its membership, reach, and thematic scope. RC 28 is slated to sponsor and co-sponsor over twenty panels at IPSA’s 2016 World Congress to be held in Istanbul next July. Panels will discuss decentralization dynamics, territorial self-governance, shared sovereignty, intergovernmental relations, coordination, the management of diversity, federal political culture, coordination, and the politics of federal bailouts among other topics.