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Probing Democracy - Conference by the CEU Democracy Institute

The CEU Democracy Institute’s (DI) “Probing Democracy” conference is a two-day hybrid, online and offline event to be held on the premises of the DI in Budapest on October 7 and 8, 2021. The event showcases the richness of the scholarly work conducted at DI on the crises and resilience of democratic societies: From lawyers to historians and political scientists, from environmental resource management to gender dynamics, from social inequalities to the Rule of Law, DI is a research center which prides itself on studying democracy in a multidisciplinary format.

In line with this intellectual stance, the conference features roundtable discussions instead of classical panels. These roundtables allow prominent experts to engage in fresh dialogue with colleagues hailing from different disciplinary backgrounds to reflect collectively on shared scientific and policy relevant research themes.

The four themes of these interdisciplinary roundtables are : (1) Knowledge Production and (Re-) Democratization, (2) Illiberalism and the (Ab)Use of the Public Sphere, (3) Access to Water and Energy: Accommodating Social Justice, Security and Sustainability, and (4) The Robustness of the Rule of Law: Past and Present Perspectives.

Furthermore, three book launch events present recently published works by DI scholars to foster a dialogue between the author(s), expert discussant(s) and the attending public invited for a Q&A session. The first book event presents DI Co-Director Eva Fodor’s The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary and Andrea Krizsan’s co-authored work Politicizing Gender and Democracy in the Context of the Istanbul Convention, the second focuses on Zsolt Enyedi’s co-authored work Party System Closure: Party Alliances, Government Alternatives, and Democracy in Europe, while the last one is devoted to Andras Sajo’s already widely-discussed recent work Ruling by Cheating.

The Keynote Lecture is delivered by Professor Branko Milanovic, whose seminal research on the distributive dimensions of democracy offers a conceptual anchor to the entire event. 

Date: October 7-8, 2021

Location: CEU, Nador str. 15., Budapest, Hungary; Auditorium A

Attendance is open to the public, but registration is required.

Please register here

In case you cannot attend in person but would like to follow the event, it will also be streamed live on the CEU Democracy Institute’s Facebook page.

Please note that proof of vaccination is required to enter CEU premises, and wearing a mask is obligatory in all common areas and strongly recommended in rooms. Read more about CEU’s Covid-protocol here.



DAY 1- Thursday, October 7, 2021

9.30-10:00 Opening remarks

Laszlo Bruszt and Eva Fodor, Co-Directors, CEU Democracy Institute (DI)

Welcome remarks

Shalini Randeria, President & Rector, Central European University (CEU)

10.00-11.30 Roundtable 1: How can knowledge production contribute to (re-)democratization

Participants: Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University; Alberto Alemanno, Haute Ecole Commerciale, Paris; Julia Sonnevend, New School, NY; Anna Clark, University of Technology, Sydney; Sonya Ziaja, University of Baltimore

Moderator: Laszlo Bruszt

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11.30-12.00 Coffee break

12.00-13.00 Book launch: Gender and Democracy

Participants: Eva Fodor – The Gender Regime of Anti-Liberal Hungary; Andrea Krizsan and Conny Roggeband – Politicizing Gender and Democracy in Context of the Istanbul Convention

Moderator: Matthijs Bogaards, CEU/DI

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13.00-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30 Roundtable 2: Illiberalization and the (Ab)use of the public sphere

Participants: Balazs Vedres, CEU; Carsten Schneider, CEU/DI; Kate Coyer, CMDS/DI; Sian Brooke, London School of Economics

Moderator: Zselyke Csaky, CMDS/DI, Freedom House

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15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.30 Roundtable 3: Access to water and energy – accommodating social justice, security, and sustainability

Participants: Christian Brethaut, University of Geneva; Cristina Corduneanu-Huci, CEU/DI; Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester; Guntra Aistara, CEU

Moderator: Eva Fodor

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17.30 Keynote

Branko Milanovic, The City University of New York

Introduction: Dimitry Kochenov, CEU/DI

Watch it here


DAY 2 - Friday, October 8, 2021

9.30-10.30 Book launch: Fernando Casal Bertoa & Zsolt Enyedi: Party System Closure: Party Alliances, Government Alternatives, and Democracy in Europe

Participants: Fernando Casal Bertoa, University of Nottingham; Zsolt Enyedi, CEU/DI; Petra Guasti, Charles University, Prague; Juan Rodriguez Teruel, Universidad de Valencia; Cees van der Eijk, University of Nottingham

Moderator: Erin K. Jenne, CEU/DI

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10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.30 Roundtable 4: Robustness of the Rule of Law: Past and Present

Participants: Petra Bard, ELTE/CEU/DI; Marta Bucholc, University of Bonn; Marc Lazar, Sciences Po, Paris; Kolja Raube, KU Leuven

Moderator: Barbara Grabowska-Moroz, DI

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12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-13.40 Findings from the RECONNECT Project

Co-organized with the RECONNECT Workshop: Returning to the Rule of Law?

Jan Wouters (KU Leuven)

13.40-14.30 Book launch: Andras Sajo: Ruling by Cheating – Governance in Illiberal Democracy

Co-organized with the RECONNECT Workshop: Returning to the Rule of Law?

Participants: Günter Frankenberg, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt; Michał Matlak, Review of DemocracyAndras Sajó, CEU/DI; Julie Smith, Baroness Smith of Newnham, Cambridge University; Maciej Taborowski, Warsaw University/Deputy Ombudsman of Poland

Moderator: Jan Wouters

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14.30 Closing remarks

Laszlo Bruszt and Eva Fodor


Learn more about the speakers


Source of image used in cover: Flickr / Jernej Furman