There is a broad consensus on the fact that modern democracies are facing today major difficulties if not a profound crisis: They are confronted with immense challenges, domestic and global, that test their legitimacy, erode their foundations and even threaten their very survival. Existing studies identify some of its key drivers and manifestations: the link between inequality and the contestation of democracy; the roots and nature of the current populist and anti-systemic challenges; the redefinition of national identities and the loosening of the ethnic and linguistic homogeneity of many nation-states; the interdependence between democratic nation-states and the global context.
The new CIVICA Research Project, entitled “Democracy and Its Discontents. A Historical Examination of the Current Predicament of Democracy,” considers that such studies must be complemented by a thorough historical investigation capable of defining a genealogy of the current democratic malaise, identifying historical antecedents to be compared, to this latest predicament of democracy.
All the major history departments and centers of CIVICA will be involved in this investigation, led by the Centre d’Histoire at Sciences Po, including the CEU Democracy Institute and its Democracy in History workgroup, and the CEU Department of History. A series of workshops will be organized with a final conference in the fall of 2022. The objective is to produce a collective volume to be submitted to a major international press.
The project will focus on five research clusters: international relations; globalization; comparing crises; democratic forms and legitimacy; institutions.