Research Topic

Analyzing Legislative Backsliding and Democratic Deconsolidation with Big Data

About this Research Topic

Over the past decade, democracy in many European countries has been increasingly challenged, with political observers, journalists, politicians and many members of the public frequently questioning the advantages of organizing the political system based on liberal democracy. In a corresponding trend from the boom in studies in democratization during the 1990s and 2000s scholarly attention has started to shift to reverse trends related to democratic deconsolidation, backsliding and autocratisation. Several countries in Central and Eastern Europe (notably Hungary and Poland) went from poster child to bête noire in this respect with many others showing disturbing signs in terms of legislative quality and transparency.

While traditional narrative analyses of these trends abound, they are less frequently rooted in newly available Big Data sources or with cutting-edge social science methodology. To understand these challenges and to support the resilience and sustainability of democracy across Europe, it is now more important than ever to better scrutinize the political behavior of decision-makers over all stages of the political process, and especially the all-important legislative process with emerging data sources and innovative methodologies. Therefore, the goal of this Research Topic is to explore the state and dynamics of legislative and other policy processes in European, and more specifically in a Central-Eastern European context with the tools of Big Data.

In comparative politics different methodological tools can compensate for each other's relative weaknesses, enabling more robust causal inferences to be made. Multi-and mixed method research is especially suitable for tackling complex research problems. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, political research can reveal the systematic and structural weakening of democracy by focusing on illiberal trends in the functioning of legislatures and the executive. Since politics mostly happens through written or spoken language, political texts are an important, if not the key source for gathering information across time and space.

With these considerations in mind, we welcome papers from a wide variety of methodologies, but we are particularly interested in studies which rely on quantitative text analysis, text mining, machine learning and related Big Data approaches. Submissions that focus on a single country or adopt a comparative research design are welcome, as are viewpoints of practitioners working on data management at legislative bodies and those of methodologists working with such data.

This Research Topic welcomes;

• Original research articles reporting on primary and unpublished studies for legislative politics in Central- and Eastern Europe;
• Review articles covering comparative datasets with comprehensive depth;
• Policy and practice reviews of current topics in legislative politics in Central- and Eastern Europe
• Articles which focus on methodological innovations and data sources in policy research;
• Perspective articles presenting a viewpoint of practitioners working at legislative bodies on data management and presentation


Keywords: Legislation, Laws, Bills, Legislative Speeches, Legislative Database, Central Europe, Eastern Europe


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the past decade, democracy in many European countries has been increasingly challenged, with political observers, journalists, politicians and many members of the public frequently questioning the advantages of organizing the political system based on liberal democracy. In a corresponding trend from the boom in studies in democratization during the 1990s and 2000s scholarly attention has started to shift to reverse trends related to democratic deconsolidation, backsliding and autocratisation. Several countries in Central and Eastern Europe (notably Hungary and Poland) went from poster child to bête noire in this respect with many others showing disturbing signs in terms of legislative quality and transparency.

While traditional narrative analyses of these trends abound, they are less frequently rooted in newly available Big Data sources or with cutting-edge social science methodology. To understand these challenges and to support the resilience and sustainability of democracy across Europe, it is now more important than ever to better scrutinize the political behavior of decision-makers over all stages of the political process, and especially the all-important legislative process with emerging data sources and innovative methodologies. Therefore, the goal of this Research Topic is to explore the state and dynamics of legislative and other policy processes in European, and more specifically in a Central-Eastern European context with the tools of Big Data.

In comparative politics different methodological tools can compensate for each other's relative weaknesses, enabling more robust causal inferences to be made. Multi-and mixed method research is especially suitable for tackling complex research problems. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, political research can reveal the systematic and structural weakening of democracy by focusing on illiberal trends in the functioning of legislatures and the executive. Since politics mostly happens through written or spoken language, political texts are an important, if not the key source for gathering information across time and space.

With these considerations in mind, we welcome papers from a wide variety of methodologies, but we are particularly interested in studies which rely on quantitative text analysis, text mining, machine learning and related Big Data approaches. Submissions that focus on a single country or adopt a comparative research design are welcome, as are viewpoints of practitioners working on data management at legislative bodies and those of methodologists working with such data.

This Research Topic welcomes;

• Original research articles reporting on primary and unpublished studies for legislative politics in Central- and Eastern Europe;
• Review articles covering comparative datasets with comprehensive depth;
• Policy and practice reviews of current topics in legislative politics in Central- and Eastern Europe
• Articles which focus on methodological innovations and data sources in policy research;
• Perspective articles presenting a viewpoint of practitioners working at legislative bodies on data management and presentation


Keywords: Legislation, Laws, Bills, Legislative Speeches, Legislative Database, Central Europe, Eastern Europe


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
30 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
30 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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