The Central European Political Science Association (CEPSA) was established in the year 1994 as a common forum of Central European political scientists. The basic idea behind the founding of the CEPSA was to develop links among political scientists from post-Communist countries who were making effort to establish political science in their respective countries. However, the idea of a common Central European identity played an important role in discussions about the necessity of a collective political science association in the region as well.
Political science features among the social sciences that were suppressed severely within Central and East European single-party systems. The regimes preferred their own “scientific” approach to political issues, namely the Marxist-Leninist ideology and dialectics. Nevertheless, research and study in politics still at least partly developed in (some) Central European countries during the period of the 1940s till the 1980s.
The fall of the single-party systems in Central European countries was followed by a rebirth of political science as an independent social science discipline. From the very beginning, political science manifested its importance during the period of immense and complex social, economical, and political transformation. Societies expected a scientific analysis of numerous, up till then unfamiliar events, and often even a prognosis for the future. Moreover, the process of development in the “zone of big transformation” attracted attention and raised curiosity of political scientists and politicians from the transatlantic community. Political scientists in Central European countries found the task of providing a general view of the political development in their respective countries often almost impossible to conclude, working on their own or in small groups, lacking both strong financial support and expert knowledge of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches.
All reasons mentioned above constituted the rationale for the establishment of the Central European Political Science Association as a scientific organisation that provides support and floor for intensive scientific discussion, exchange of knowledge and networking. The Central European Political Science Association is based on the idea of collective membership. It was founded by six national political science associations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Currently, national political science associations of Croatia and Lithuania are also represented in the Central European Political Science Association, and the CEPSA occupies a position of the largest collective member of the International Political Science Association.
The main activity of the Central European Political Science Association is being carried out via the idea of Annual conferences of the Association. The conferences have taken place in Bled/Slovenia, Bratislava/Slovakia, Budapest/Hungary, Pilsen/Czech Republic, Vienna/Austria, and Vilnius/Lithuania. The next one, 11th Annual conference, is due in Bratislava in spring 2006. The conferences focus on contemporary and key issues related to political research and development in Central European countries. In recent years, sessions of post-doctoral students have been an important part of the conferences. The annual conferences of the Central European Political Science Association became a significant venue of networking processes among political scientists from Central European countries and their colleagues from other regions.
For more information please visit the website of CEPSA