Paper Award

Call for Submissions & Announcement of Best Paper Award “Surfing on Crisis: Hope and Fear between Ideals and Ideologies”

When: 30th September - 2nd October, 2022

Where: Witten/Herdecke University, Germany

Submission of abstracts: Open now until 10th August, 2022



The International PPE Conference at Witten/Herdecke University is a student-led initiative that brings together university students and scholars from diverse backgrounds to share and discuss their ideas and knowledge related to global issues that affect the totality of our contemporary societies. To achieve this aim, we invite participants to submit their own work and present it at the conference. Thanks to our collaboration with the Board of Trustees of Witten/Herdecke University we will again be able to present the “Best Paper Award” to one of the submissions to the conference. The “Best Paper Award” includes a prize money of 500€ and will be conferred by a jury comprising members from the organizing committee and Witten’s Institute for Social and Institutional Change (ISIC). All submissions to the conference will automatically be considered for the “Best Paper Award”.

The theme of this year’s conference will be “Surfing on Crisis: Hope and Fear between Ideals and Ideologies”. Looking at each corner of the world, a rich mosaic of situations is changing the cast of the future prompting significant concerns globally and locally. Different agents have various interests in avoiding or embracing those crises. In a world where individuals increasingly have a feeling of being dispossessed of their power as free autonomous citizens, we seem to enter a generalized era of political despair and democratic apathy. In this era, hope for change seems like a perfect candidate for strong instrumentalization either for the better, the worse or the same. 

Furthermore, it is apparent that we are surrounded by various crises such as climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, multiple wars, economic crises, etc. At the 7th Edition of the PPE Conference, we would like to discuss the underlayers of the crises. While a crisis might be a sign of instability, it also offers the chance to reveal issues that have been hidden in plain sight; radical ideas become all of sudden attainable. One also might even argue that looking back on humankind; the crisis was the common denominator in revolutionary change in society. From a historical point of view and based on our experiences of several cases in the last few years, it can be felt how seemingly unfortunate conditions forced some agents or even society as a whole towards innovation, adaptation and evolution, which in turn led to the development of resilience and preparation of the settings to tackle the future crises. 

Dedicated to investigating the topic of crisis, we intend to ask the following questions: What contributes to crisis - agents or structures? A popular narrative is that crises are only thorny chances to generate progress - to what extent is this narrative true? Who benefits in moments of crisis? And finally, we would delve into social cohesion and investigate how it correlates with the crises. 

Crisis refers to various meanings among different viewpoints. In economics, what crisis refers to is a matter of external forces disrupting the status quo or financial predictions, while in political science the word is used in a rather broad sense; that is, a spectrum from wars, revolutions to participation rates of elections and cultural conflicts may fall under the description of crisis. It is important to notice that the same phenomena can be experienced in two different places and times, one might be called a crisis and the other not. The ambiguity of calling a situation a crisis is something we intend to investigate. We aim to explore how political apathy can be instrumentalized in times of perpetual crises, especially by engaging the two primal emotions of hope and fear. We also focus on the relationship between individuals and their ideals with institutions and ideologies. Namely, we would like to investigate how an individual change emanates in an ideological space and what form that would take.

Student paper sessions are a key element of the PPE conference. By presenting your own work, you make an important contribution to shaping the conference and making it the interactive, student-led event that it has grown into over the course of the last few years. Moreover, paper sessions are a unique opportunity to present your research to a diverse audience of experts and students, and receive valuable feedback. It is also great practice for any future career you might aspire towards, especially ones in academia.


Application for presenters

  • All abstracts should be sent to, by the 10th of August, 2022.
  • Notifications of acceptance will be issued on the 15th of August, 2022.
  • A final version of your paper or presentation should be sent before the 15th of September, 2022.
  • Papers should not exceed 6.000 words. For clarifications, contact us via e-mail. We encourage applicants to have a look at the style sheet attached to this e-mail.
  • If you need technical assistance with your presentation media, such as posters or projectors, please let us know via e-mail until the 15th of September 2022


Application for non-presenters

We look forward to welcoming you to the conference, even if you do not submit a paper. For more information, please visit our website at or send us an e-mail to


With best wishes,

The PPE Conference Organizing Committee and ISIC