Call for Abstracts for a fully-funded workshop – deadline 30 June 2017

Deconstructing Participatory Climate Governance: Innovation or Business as Usual?

26-27 October, Sciences Po Bordeaux, France

Civil society and public participation is often regarded as critical to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience policies. Beyond decisions shaping the economy, finances, and infrastructure, policy change is also about changing peoples’ behaviour with respect to their fundamental life choices, particularly in terms of jobs, housing, and consumption patterns. Recent scholarship has documented the emergence of different experiments in participatory, inclusive, and “community-based” climate change policies. Many argue that participatory approaches often yield more effective, equitable, and durable outcomes. However, we are increasingly seeing examples where communities are resisting policy changes, where local social movements are opposing climate-related infrastructural developments, and where supposedly democratic processes are captured by local elites.

This fully funded workshop will bring together 15-20 scholars under the flag of the COST Action INOGOV (Innovations in Climate Governance) to discuss the role of participation in bringing about experimentation and innovation in climate change governance. On the one hand, civil society participation can facilitate genuine local ownership over climate mitigation and adaptation policies. On the other hand, however, participation can also appear as superficial prerequisites for external/donor funding or as sophisticated techniques to cast a democratic cloak on processes controlled by the technocratic elite in order to make its preferred options socially acceptable. The overall objective of the workshop, therefore, is to critically review and deconstruct current knowledge on participatory climate governance.

We invite social scientists from all disciplines to debate how and to what extent participation contributes to climate change governance across different scales, spaces, and political contexts. We welcome theoretical papers, methodological papers, and empirical studies or combinations thereof; and invite abstracts that discuss and examine participation and climate mitigation and/or adaptation. Papers offering insights from emerging or industrialising economies are eagerly expected, as well as papers co-authored by researchers form the global South. The aim is to publish the draft papers, subject to normal review process, as a special issue in a high ranked scientific journal/or edited book.

Topical Themes

The workshop is open to a broad variety of interpretations of the relationship between civil society/public participation and climate change governance, but we strongly encourage submissions on the following themes:

  • How is participatory climate governance approached differently across different policy areas or political contexts? What are the different ideologies, models, and interests behind the design and implementation of such participatory processes?
  • Which participatory techniques and strategies are the most common and the most ‘effective’ in advancing climate change mitigation, adaptation, and/or resilience policies?
  • What are the indicators and assessment criteria for participatory climate change governance and do they actually promote more equitable, durable, or inclusive outcomes?
  • What are the enabling factors and potential obstacles in promoting participatory climate governance within/across global, national, regional, and local levels?

Practicalities and Submission Deadlines

The workshop will be funded under the 4-year COST Action INOGOV (IS1309 Innovations in Climate Governance: Sources, Patterns and Effects) (2014-8). INOGOV will cover reasonable travel costs and accommodation of all invited authors, subject to standard COST reimbursement and eligibility rules.

Interested participants/authors are encouraged to submit 500 word abstracts by 30 June 2017 as a first step towards full paper development. Please send your abstract to the workshop organisers Prof. Daniel Compagnon ( and Dr. Eric Chu (

Authors will be notified of acceptance/rejection by 14 July 2017 and those selected to contribute to the workshop will receive funding to cover their costs of participation. Contributing authors are expected to submit a full first draft of their paper by 12 October 2017 to be circulated to all workshop participants before the workshop. Participants are expected to provide comments on the paper of one other participant. The drafts will be intensively debated at the workshop and full papers should tentatively be submitted for the review process by early 2018.

Authors with specific questions are encouraged to contact workshop organisers Prof. Daniel Compagnon ( and Dr. Eric Chu (


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