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Co-Creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces Across Europe (CCINDLE )

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Borbala Varga Inequalities and Democracy

CCINDLE aims to contribute to strengthening and re-invigorating European democracies starting from the assumption that feminist theories and activism are essential sources of both resistance to anti-gender discourses and politics, and to revitalizing citizens’ engagement with democratic institutions and values. We build on the recognition that addressing the increasing challenges posed to European democracies require a combination of excellent academic research and well-informed practical solutions which: a) are feminist, anti-homophobic and anti-racist, b) could efficiently support high quality inclusive democratic governance, c) may create a push-back against authoritarian and anti-gender efforts.

By conducting research in seven European countries with different social and political backgrounds, and at the EU level, the project aims to:

  • Deepen our understanding of the state of democracy in Europe, especially on core challenges it faces in different political and social contexts related to the principles of equality, inclusion and participation, and as a result of anti-gender/anti-LGBTQ campaigns.
  • Identify and analyze different feminist responses that are a) present in theories, b) worked out within feminist movements, c) provided via feminist cooperation with formal institutions to anti-democratic trends and to the anti-gender forces.
  • Identify specific tools and practical approaches, which in specific political and social contexts could lead to strengthening democracy, gender equality, and intersectional justice.
  • Facilitate putting these tools and approaches into practice to support actors that embrace the twin goals of promoting equality and strengthening democracy, through co-creating actions with selected movement and institutional actors, with feminist and pro-democratic media, with universities as prominent actors in the politics of knowledge, and with philanthropic organizations promoting democracy and feminism.

Political contexts analyzed are: Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK and the EU.

In addition to conducting the Hungarian field research, the CEU team will play a coordinating role in the work package on anti-gender campaigns, most particularly on knowledge production and violence aspects of anti-gender mobilizations. It will also play a central role in the comparative research on democratic innovations by feminist and women’s movement mobilizations.

EU Horizon Europe
Neo-authoritarianisms in Europe and the liberal democratic response (AUTHLIB)

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Lead researchers: Zsolt Enyedi
Researchers:
Lilla Jakobs, Viktoria Koszegi De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)

At CEU the work on this project is a joint endeavor of the Democracy Institute and the Department of Political Science

To protect the future of liberal democracy in Europe, we must first understand its challengers. AUTHLIB is a multidisciplinary project that aims to explore the varieties of neo-authoritarian, illiberal ideologies in Europe, their social, psychological and historical causes,their organizational background and their political implications. The study aims to capture the dynamics of ideological change in the European Union as a whole, but it will particularly focus on Poland, France, Italy, Hungary, Czechia, the United Kingdom and Austria.We will map ideological configurations by analyzing textual data and social media, and by organizing surveys of citizens and experts. The mapping of ideological structures will be complemented by a study of emotional triggers and rhetorical strategies pursued by illiberal actors. The contemporary ideological configurations of illiberalism will be embedded within their historical-cultural context, and the study of ideas and preferences will be supplemented by investigation of illiberalism in power, and the co-operation of illiberal political actors. To develop interventions that effectively target these new challenges, AUTHLIB will define the normative limits for actions that democracies may take in their own defence. In order to identify the mechanisms behind the support of illiberalism, and the susceptibility of citizens towards changing their attitudes, we will conduct laboratory and online panel-based survey experiments. Finally, in order to observe how ideological and emotional stimuli work in co-operative settings, we will set up deliberative fora, involving both ordinary citizens, ideological opponents, and individuals responsible for educating future generations and operating the intricate procedures of liberal democracy. The research will provide policy-makers with a comprehensive toolbox to improve support for liberal democracy.

EU Horizon Europe / UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025 (RCM)

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Lead researchers: Marek Hojsik
Researchers:
Judit Benke Inequalities and Democracy

The New EU Roma strategic framework issued by the EC in 2020 presents a unique opportunity to extensively revise and upgrade policies aiming to promote that equality, inclusion and participation of Romani European citizens. The ambitious targets of the new EU framework can only be met by 2030 if Roma organizations participate substantially in their design, implementation, and monitoring. The Roma Civil Monitor (RCM) 2021-2025 aims at contributing to this objective in several ways:

  • strengthening the capacities of the Roma and pro-Roma civil society to provide independent monitoring, assessment and reporting on national strategies for Roma equality, participation and inclusion, their implementation, as well as other policies with impact on Roma,
  • supporting participating civil society organisations and activists in their advocacy work aimed at making the public policy more effective in fighting the Roma exclusion and participation, as well as communication of the independent monitoring’s findings to keep governments accountable in the field or Roma inclusion policy,
  • empowering the Roma and pro-Roma civil society to engage in dialogue and cooperation with public authorities responsible for the Roma inclusion, equality, and fight against racism.
Towards Illiberal Constitutionalism in East Central Europe: Historical Analysis in Comparative and Transnational Perspectives

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Lead researchers: Renata Uitz
Judit Benke, Lilla Jakobs Democracy in History , Rule of Law

According to a Western understanding of politics, the word “illiberal” is difficult to associate with a democracy: liberty (individual freedom) is a basic element of constitutional democracy. Yet, some democratically elected governments in Eastern Central Europe (above all, Hungary and Poland) aggressively promote an illiberal version of democracy — and transform states and societies accordingly. What is the underlying constitutional understanding? What lines of tradition is it based on? And what does that mean for Europe? The project is supported by The Volkswagen Foundation’s funding program “Challenges for Europe” with a total of almost 1.5 million euros (250,000 euros for the sub-project at the Democracy Institute). The team at CEU will investigate the rise and constitutional underpinnings of illiberal Christian democracy.

Visit the project's website

Volkswagen Foundation
Democracy in East Central European utopianism

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Lead researchers: Zsolt Cziganyik
Researchers:
Democracy in History

The project aims at the systematic analysis of utopian and dystopian texts, focusing on the problems and conflicts utopianism highlights concerning the ideals of democracy. We shall investigate what elements of democratic societies have been endorsed and / or criticised by utopias, which we understand as social and political structures presented as alternatives to historical reality. We shall contrast the utopian ideals and their dystopian counterparts with historical and political movements to trace the intellectual history of democracy within utopianism. Beyond the analysis of texts, the research explores the impact of utopian thought on social and political movements and phenomena, analysing texts in their historical contexts, focusing on the social and historical circumstances in which they were created.

The novelty of the investigation lies not only in the focus of the research -- democracy in utopianism -- but also in the scope of research: rather than focusing on Western, particularly Anglo-Saxon texts as most researches do, we will analyse East Central European utopian texts. This way the project contributes to the intellectual history of Central Europe. The research focus is not on individual texts or their authors, but how the texts reflect the historical context and conflicts concerning ideas of good government in East Central Europe. Further, how these conflicts reflect attitudes towards democracy in the region, particularly in comparison and contrast to Western Europe will be central to the study.

The research group will analyse utopian and dystopian texts and investigate the role of the elements of democracy in their depictions of ideal social and political structures.

The survey also examines how various forms of democracy, experienced or imagined (direct, indirect, representational, (il)liberal, grassroots etc.) appear in various utopian contexts and what can be learned from their impacts on historical or fictive human communities. Beyond the political structures, we shall examine democratic mentalities of individuals as they appear in the texts, including the presence or absence of democratic values in communication and decision-making processes.

Gerda Henkel Foundation
Reshaping European Advances towards Green Leadership Through Deliberative Approaches and Learning (REAL_DEAL)

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Lead researchers: Stephen Stec
Researchers:
Borbala Varga Environment and Democracy

REAL_DEAL will stimulate a pan-European debate to reshape citizens’ and stakeholders’ active participation through deliberative processes around the European Green Deal. It brings together researchers and practitioners of deliberative democracy from a wide range of disciplines including environmental rights and the law of public participation, ethics and responsible innovation, gender studies and ecofeminism, psychology, geography, urban planning and sustainability studies. It includes the EU’s largest civil society networks advocating on the environment, climate, sustainable development, local democracy and the European movement. It teams up with youth climate, social justice and women’s organizations, SMEs, universities and research institutes, mobilizing networks with thousands of CSOs, uniting millions of citizens and activating contacts to thousands of policymakers. In a large co-creation exercise, REAL_DEAL will develop, test and validate innovative tools and formats to propel deliberative democracy to the next level. It will test its innovations at citizens assemblies for the transition in at least 13 countries. We will scrutinize pan-European formats ranging from digital deliberation through our online platform www.CitizensGreenDeal.eu to in-person processes such as an Assembly for a Gender-Just Green Deal and a pan-European Youth Climate Assembly. REAL_DEAL will co-create a comprehensive protocol for meaningful citizens’ participation and deliberation to work towards the objectives of the EGD. It will validate recommendations on how to design such processes and how they can be applied by European institutions, Member States and civil society alike. Gender equality will be embedded into the project’s DNA. It pays specific attention to the leave-no-one-behind principle, fostering the engagement of disenfranchised groups that are disproportionally burdened by environmental damage. REAL_DEAL will develop a new model of environmental citizenship across Europe.

EU Horizon 2020
Knowledge Transfer in Global Gender Programmes: The Case of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and Gender-Biased Sex Selection (GlobalKnoT)

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Lead researchers: Laura Rahm
Lilla Jakobs, Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy

Globally, hundreds of millions of women and girls are subject to practices that harm their physical and emotional integrity and violate their human rights. The United Nations with co-funding from the European Union has launched global gender programmes as multi-stakeholder partnerships with the primary goal to increase knowledge and political commitment to end harmful practices worldwide. Little is known about how knowledge is generated and transferred through global programmes and across socio-cultural diverse countries to address culturally rooted practices like child marriage, female genital mutilation, and gender-biased sex selection.

The project aims to better understand knowledge transfer and policy production in the Global Programmes to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, Gender-biased Sex Selection, and Child Marriage. This interdisciplinary research draws on global governance, political demography, cultural anthropology, sociology, gender and science, technology, and society studies to critically analyze knowledge diffusion and policy production processes.

 Main project objectives

  • to expand our conceptual understanding of global governance and the actors and networks engaged in transnational knowledge transfer;
  • to enrich our empirical understanding of the function and efficacy of global gender programmes using female genital mutilation/cutting, gender-biased sex selection, child marriage as case studies;
  • to offer practical guidance for decision makers and international organizations to protect the rights of women and girls and to accelerate the eradication of harmful practices worldwide.  

This study proposes to address these issues through mixed-methods research design combining qualitative key informant interviews and participant observation with the quantitative analysis of secondary demographic data. The outcomes of the study will inform academics, practitioners and the public about the functioning and efficacy of the Global Programmes in providing solutions to global public challenges and help accelerate policy change.

EU Horizon 2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions
History of Our Struggles – Resource Bank about Hungarian Social Movements

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Lead researchers: Violetta Zentai
Researchers:
Inequalities and Democracy

The project is aimed at providing an insight into the history of Hungarian social movements and shaping the representation of Hungarian civil society and helping process the rich social movement history. It amplifies the voices of people who, organized or sometimes as lone fighters, have protested against the injustices they have suffered. The timeline recalls their stand to show what the members of the movement considered important and how far they were willing to go to achieve it.

The project provides cutting-edge data of protest events to researchers, and also offers a new perspective on the subject. The growing project currently covers protest events of 11 social movements between 1989-1994. The aim is to include protest events from the first 30 years after the regime change, and to broaden the range of movements covered.

The project covers the following movements:

  • Disability Movement
  • Prisoners’ Movement
  • Housing Movement
  • LGBT+ Movement
  • Labor Movement
  • Women’s Movement
  • Green Movement

The timeline is available here (only in Hungarian).

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Organised religion, constitutions and democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe (ReLiCon)

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Lead researchers: Renata Uitz
Rule of Law

This interdisciplinary collaborative research project, led by a team of four experts from the Hertie School, CEU, and EUI, seeks to lay the foundations of and conduct a pilot study for a larger investigation on the role that organized majority / (de facto) state religion plays in democratic backsliding and the rise of illiberal democracy. It focuses more closely on its impact on constitutional and judicial politics of fundamental rights in ECE. The research will explore the ways in which different constitutional texts and judicial interpretation have become venues for continued or unprecedented contestation of fundamental rights and liberties through the use of Orthodox Christian and Catholic value claims in Hungary and Poland, and in the understudied cases of Bulgaria Czechia, Romania, Latvia and Moldova. In doing so, it will identify (1) factors / forces that create opportunities for the pursuit of religious narratives that feed the retrogression of fundamental rights and democratic backsliding and (2) factors / forces that boost democratic resilience / halt the retrogression of fundamental rights (and the spread of illiberal democracy).

In addition to disseminating the research findings through a publication, a one-day workshop on the theme of the project held at the Democracy Institute of CEU Budapest will facilitate engagement with a network of relevant stakeholders. The project is thus aimed at establishing a CIVICA-led wider consortium of experts working at the intersection of religion, constitutionalism, fundamental rights and democratic backsliding from different disciplines and institutions, amongst CIVICA partners and beyond. The core team will also develop an agenda for further research and apply for a major grant that would allow to continue and consolidate the project beyond CIVICA’s seed funding

EU Horizon 2020
Re-engaging Civic Organizations for Democracy in the Age of Disruptive Social Media (REENGAGE)

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Lead researchers: Balazs Vedres
Researchers:
Media and Technology

This interdisciplinary research initiative explores how civic organizations can be re-engaged for strengthening democracy in the age of disruptive social media. Social media is crucial for civic publics, and over the past ten years this environment had become increasingly hostile and divisive, with social bots and automated accounts initiating more than half of all communications. This research will contribute to a broader understanding of how civic organizations and activists can regain their voice, how they can secure the trust of key constituents – now largely disillusioned by polarization, misinformation and hate-speech on social media –, and how civic groups can activate and re-energize a fragmented audience. We will collect large datasets describing the dynamics of interactions among activists when they are confronted by social bots, we will chart sentiment and topics in communications at varying intensity of divisive content in the social media environment, and we will explore possible strategies of resistance that activists can deploy against automated divisive content. This research will help academics, activists, and policymakers to understand risks in AI solutions to suppress freedom of speech and how the far-right in particular has leveraged this technology for political gain, as well as to determine frameworks of action to mitigate such threats to the democratic potential of civic activism.   

MacArthur Foundation
Mapping Crisis-Discourses in East Central Europe, 1918-2020

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Lead researchers: Balazs Trencsenyi
Researchers:
Orsolya Sudar Democracy in History

The project forms part of a larger research agenda seeking to contribute to the rethinking of modern European intellectual history from the vantage point of crisis-discourses. Combining the methodology of conceptual history with a contextualist history of political thought and with a transnational perspective, it focuses on a number of key controversies that shaped modern East Central European history and politics, seeking to assess continuities and discontinuities. Its three main temporal axes to be analyzed are the interwar era, the socialist period (especially its early and late years), and the years following 2008.

Indices for Patronalism in the Economic Sphere

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Lead researchers: Balint Magyar
Researchers:
De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)

The book, The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes by Balint Magyar and Balint Madlovics (CEU Press, 2020) introduced a new descriptive language for political-economic systems, a key concept of which is “relational economy.” Characterized by the informal collusion of power and ownership in the form of patronal networks, such an economy cannot be captured adequately by the concepts developed for Western market economies, nor by the economic indicators developed along the assumptions of Western concepts. In our project, we elaborate on this problem, and offer alternative quantitative measures for different aspects of informal patronalism.

A theoretical paper on alternative methodologies have been accepted for publication by Acta Oeconomica. Currently, the authors are working on an empirical paper of the Hungarian economy. In the future, they would like to expand the project to other post-communist countries.

Ukraine: Chances of Anti-Patronal Transformation after the War

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Lead researchers: Balint Magyar
Researchers:
De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)

Democracy in Ukraine has seen both promising and difficult times in the last thirty years. The collapse of the Soviet Union provided the country with the opportunity of independence and freedom from dictatorial oppression. Although Ukraine under the rule of Leonid Kuchma was facing toward autocracy, his autocratic attempt was thwarted by the Orange Revolution of 2004. Later, the Ukrainian people further demonstrated their strong will for the country’s Western orientation in the Euromaidan revolution of 2014. While international observers hoped these revolts would lead to genuine democratization, none of them resulted in liberal democracy but in regime cycles, leading back to where the country was before.

Regime cycles emerged because, in the case of both revolutions, democratic transformation was not accompanied by anti-patronal transformation. Since before the regime change, Ukrainian political life has been dominated by region-based informal patronal networks, or political-economic ‘clans’, competing to occupy key positions in the political and economic spheres. While the presence of informal practices has had a deteriorating effect on democratic institutions, the landslide victory of president Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 was a sign that the people, and particularly the emerging ‘creative middle class’, wants to break with the patronal legacy of the country. When such intentions are translated to governmental action, careful consideration of current opportunities, risks, and the possible effects of alternative policies is required to plan successful reforms of the Ukrainian political and economic regime weakening the influence of patronalism.

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine puts the country’s independence and chances at a Western type of development at risk. However, the heroic stance of the Ukrainian people against Russia, together with a solidifying national identity, makes domestic foundations for a Western turn stronger than ever. After the invasion, moving Ukraine in a Western direction will be a top priority. Rebuilding the country must be done by laying strong foundations of democracy where the liberal components of free and fair elections, civil rights, and strong institutional controls against corruption and informal practices are present. In short, the government must, beyond mitigating immediate problems, institute anti-patronal reforms to free Ukraine from its post-communist legacy and create the basis of a more stable democratic development.

The aim of this project is to assess: (1) the effect of the invasion on the process of nation-building in Ukraine; (2)the changes of the structure and level of patronalism; (3) the institutional conditions of anti-patronal transformation, learning from the experience of previous anti-patronal reforms in Ukraine and other countries; (4) the immediate, mid-term, and long-term possibilities of anti-patronal transformation as part of the program of rebuilding Ukraine as a more stable democracy than before. The project will be a joint effort of CEU DI fellows and Ukrainian scholars who have previously worked and published extensively in the fields of patronalism, neopatrimonialism, informality, post-communist regimes, and the case of Ukraine in particular. The result of the project will be a ca. 40-50-page paper detailing the findings of the project.

Comparative Populism Project

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Lead researchers: Erin Kristin Jenne
Researchers:
De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)

This project brings together CEU and international scholars working on topics related to populism across different disciplinary traditions. The aim was to build up a comparative database on the varieties of populist politics and policies across the European region from the end of the Cold War to explore the connections between populism on the one hand and gender, law, foreign policy, and party politics on the other. By joining the different methodological skills and perspectives across the different academic units, the project team developed a multi-faceted understanding of why populism manifests more strongly in some countries than others, why it takes on social conservative dimension in some places and more nationalist/nativist dimension in others, and how all of this connects to gender, the law, foreign policy, public administration and party systems. CEU’s international students have served as expert coders for our database of chief executives (presidents and prime ministers), measuring the presence of populist, nationalist/nativist and social conservative discourses in the speeches of 31 the leaders of European and North American countries over the past 20 years. Since the first phase of our work, we have expanded the scope of the investigation in two ways. First, we have extended our gaze backward to the interwar period (including connections between populism and fascism). Second, we extended our focus beyond the region to other regions notable for populist politics, mainly Latin America to arrive at more generalizable conclusions about the function of populism in public policy, party politics, public administration, the law and foreign policy.

Policy Advice in Electoral Democracies – Think Tanks in Hungary and Poland (Policy Advice)

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Lilla Jakobs, Zselyke Tofalvi Inequalities and Democracy

This project focuses on policy advice in Central and Eastern European contexts, exploring what role think tanks play in countries from the region. The interest is to study how knowledge producers contribute to democratic processes in two countries: Hungary and Poland. Focusing specifically on think tanks as key policy advising organizations, the project will analyze the dynamic interplay between governments and policy advice institutions and the patterns of political knowledge production in electoral democracies. In the course of the three years research will map the think tank landscape, look at changes in this landscape over the last years, and at how various types of think tanks respond to and accommodate to political processes taking place in these countries. 

The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Welfare, democracy, and populism under the Covid19 crisis (WELDECO)

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Lead researchers: Dorottya Szikra
Researchers:
Borbala Varga Inequalities and Democracy

This research project aims to understand in what ways populist governments differ in their welfare and health-related policy responses to the pandemic in the context of the demise of democratic institutions. Our comparative analysis utilizes the unique opportunity provided by the global pandemic to study how populists govern under crisis situations and presents novel insights into the relationship between populism, welfare and health policies, and democratic backsliding. Applying a comparative perspective in terms of geographical areas and across policy fields will shed light on formerly unknown mechanisms of populist governance, and provide a deeper understanding of how and why populism and democratic backsliding flourishes in the current era in the global North and South. As our investigation covers a diverse set of countries (Russia, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, India, and the Philippines), our findings will be relevant to varying geopolitical and social contexts. One of the most important research results includes a common conceptual framework to assess populist welfare policy responses to the pandemic. Based on our findings we will develop hypotheses as to why populist regimes differed in their policy responses to the pandemic. More broadly, the outcomes of the research will enable us to understand the role of welfare and health policy measures in legitimizing populist rule. Our interdisciplinary research team from leading European universities ensures outcomes relevant to various disciplines, including political science, social policy, public health and policy studies. Disseminating activities will target both academic and lay audiences. We consider the CIVICA research project as the first step toward a larger research endeavour.

EU Horizon 2020
Gendering democratization: path dependencies or rupture in the face of anti-gender campaigns

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Zselyke Tofalvi Inequalities and Democracy

Research shows that post-communist transition to democracy failed to deliver gender equality in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Today democratic erosion and spreading popular protests against it make the struggle for democracy and democratization once again relevant in these countries. Popular pro-democracy protests and campaigns provide one of the most important political spaces in these contexts, spaces where meanings of democracy are articulated and evolve. However, contrary to the earlier democratization processes this time opposition to gender equality is central to de-democratization political agendas. Today gender equality questions are far more salient than they ever were before and open a window of opportunity for the emergence of more gender inclusive notions of democracy.

This project conducts a qualitative analysis of the largest and most important pro-democracy protests and campaigns since 1990, selecting protests that have the potential to become critical junctures for gendering democracy meanings. The analysis assesses descriptive, substantive and symbolic representation of women and gender equality in these protests and campaigns. The aim is to understand whether the centrality of anti-gender components in attacks on democracy impact the gender inclusiveness of pro-democracy resistance and organizing, or we see path dependency and a vision of return to status quo ante in gender equality terms.

Countries analyzed are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Poland. Croatia and Poland are countries with a tradition of politicizing gender during the post-communist period, Bulgaria and Hungary are countries where gender was generally depoliticized before the start of anti-gender campaigns.  

Project results:

European Conference on Politics and Gender, Ljubljana, July 5-9, 2022
Panel: Gendering the struggle for democracy in times of democratic erosion

Chair: Andrea Krizsan
Commentator: Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin Madison

(De)democratization and gender equality. Pitfalls and potentials for inclusive democracy in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, A. Krizsan & C. Roggeband

From Round Table to Black Protests. Gender and the process of democratization and democratic backsliding in Poland, M. Grabowska

Gendered Meanings of Democracy Struggles in Croatia, L. Sutlovic

Negotiating transition without women: is Orban’s hostility to gender equality rewriting democratization?, A. Krizsan & D. Fekete

Flax Foundation – Emma Goldman Award
Empowerment through Liquid Integration of Migrant Youth in Vulnerable Conditions (MIMY)

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Lead researchers: Zsuzsanna Arendas
Researchers:
Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy

MIMY is a comparative interdisciplinary study of migrant integration with the aim of empowering young migrants in vulnerable conditions and supporting integration strategies within the EU. The project brings together 11 disciplines and 12 partners to examine the dynamic, open-ended process of integration at the EU, national and local level by examining 18 case studies within 9 countries (Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, UK, Hungary, Romania, and Poland). MIMY analyzes integration policies and strategies across macro (EU migration policies), meso (regional economic & social systems) and micro (individual practices) levels by establishing a unified theoretical framework at the intersection of liquid integration, resilience and vulnerability.

The innovative, multi-method approach (e.g. policy analyses, quantitative data analysis, delphi study and participatory action research) provides in-depth analyses of:

  1. the long-term socio-economic effects of successful and failed integration;
  2. factors fostering or hindering integration processes of young migrants (considering the heterogeneity and diverse biographical backgrounds); and
  3. how diverse social actors and institutions can support the agency of young migrants by further strengthening their resilience and resistance strategies. In contrast to existing approaches, MIMY emphasizes and combines the vertical (multi-level governance structure) and horizontal (sector policies) axes.

MIMY will show which integration strategies and policies can successfully support the empowerment of young vulnerable migrants to become active citizens within an inclusive society by working in close cooperation with migrants as peer researchers. It will contribute extensively to integration studies - empirically, methodologically and conceptually - through its place- and gender-sensitive and migrant-centred approach. MIMY offers direct benefits to young migrants and evidence-based policy-recommendations will help to push policy and practice innovation in the field of migrant youth integration in Europe.

EU Horizon 2020
Journalism Breakthroughs - Innovation in Media Organizing

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Lead researchers: Marius Dragomir
Researchers:
Eva Bognar Media and Technology

CMDS has launched Journalism Breakthroughs to collect data and information about innovation in journalism and improve the ways (formats, channels and frequency) in which we package and disseminate content. 

Phase 1 of the project ran from September 1, 2019 to Sept 1, 2020 saw the publication of over 40 pieces of content, in a variety of formats - articles, podcasts, videos and animation -  covering a wide range of topics from business models to community radio, the impact of Covid-19 on innovations and collaborative journalism, just to name a few. Geographically, it included case studies and reporting from regions rarely covered when we discuss innovation in journalism such as Zimbabwe, Nepal, Mexico, Romania, Syria, Peru and Kazakhstan. 

Phase 2 of the project will run from October 1, 2020 until 31 October, 2021 and will build on the experience from the project’s first phase and will bring forward three complementing activities:

  1. Audience research. In order to better tailor the content, the format and the channels to the needs and preferences of our target audience (journalists and media practitioners primarily, but also researchers and policymakers, especially in countries underserved by research and information on innovation), we are proposing to conduct a mapping of needs of our target group. 
  2. Innovation Lab / Clinic. We will  develop the concept of an innovation lab or clinic, including a testing phase to see how the concept works. The main purpose of such a project is to give an opportunity for media organizations in need to consult with our wide network of experts on innovation, broadly understood (including business models, audience engagement, organizational structures etc.), which would serve the immediate needs of newsrooms facing various problems in their daily work.
  3. Content production. We will continue the production of content related to innovation in journalism, with the same commitment to diversity in topics, formats and geography. The audience research and the development of the innovation lab/clinic concept will provide rich material for publications.

Phase 3 of the project will run from January 1st to December 31st 2022 and will focus our work on collaboration in journalism. Building on the work we started in Phase 1 and 2, we will expand our inquiry into innovation, specifically looking at new ways in which media organizations from around the world organize in networks of support to fight for their rights, to fund their operations, and to create healthy media ecosystems. The focus of this new phase is to look at how solidarities can be developed within the media field (between media organizations), but also between the media field and other professional fields such as civil activism, human rights defense, research and academia, labor organizing and others. 

Open Society Foundations
Media Influence Matrix (MIM)

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Lead researchers: Marius Dragomir
Researchers:
Eva Bognar Media and Technology

CMDS has launched the Media Influence Matrix project to investigate the profound influence that rapid shifts in policy, sources of funding and technology companies in the public sphere are having on journalism today.

The project seeks to research the changing landscape of:

  • government and policy space, with a focus on the changes in the policy and regulatory environment; 
  • funding, with a focus on the key funding sources of journalism and the impact on editorial coverage; 
  • technology in the public sphere, with a focus on how technology companies, through activities such as automation and algorithm-based content distribution, impact news media and journalism.

The project emphasizes news media in particular, including newly emerged players. The study is neither aimed at exhaustively mapping the entire media industry nor is it intended to target specific media sectors. Instead, we map the most popular and most influential news media on a country-by-country basis and analyze their changing relations with politics, government and technology companies.

Media Influence Matrix publishes a series of articles, analytical papers and datasets. They feed into the project’s final output, which will be a collection of country reports and comparative overviews.

Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey

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Lead researchers: Marius Dragomir
Researchers:
Eva Bognar Media and Technology

The goal of the project Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey is to enhance media trust among citizens and create a safe environment for journalists to produce independent news content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and publishing.

The three-year project is intended to address the main problems and challenges in the Western Balkans identified in the Feasibility Study for the Establishment of a Regional Program in Media and Journalism Training.

Planned activities as part of the BIRN-led project include national and regional training for young and mid-career journalists and for reporters from mainstream media and public service broadcasters. CMDS is in charge of holding regional training workshops on investigative journalism and of developing an investigative journalism curriculum that will then be promoted among universities across the region. The curriculum is going to be targeted to both journalism students and students interested either in conducting investigative journalism or in investigative journalism methods. The regional training will be in the form of a hybrid course, with online and offline elements.

European Commission's Regional Training and Support Programme
Brexit Research and Interchange on Differentiated Governance in Europe (BRIDGE)

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Lead researchers: Renata Uitz
Rule of Law

BRIDGE is a multi-disciplinary academic network investigating current European Union crises and assessing the European Union’s governance responses.

Research

We investigate interconnections between various crises the European Union is currently facing, namely the Brexit crisis, in relation to the €uro crisis, migration/Schengen crisis, the rule of law and populism crises.

Our purpose is to explore whether new forms of differentiated governance within the European Union could help overcome current challenges faced by Member States.

Outputs

We facilitate a series of public events allowing scholars from across Europe to share their research with one another and engage in broader debate with key decision-makers and the general public.

We curate a blog and a podcast. We will also disseminate research findings through traditional academic publication channels such as books, articles or working papers.

History as Democracy?

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Lead researchers: Laszlo Kontler
Researchers:
Orsolya Sudar Democracy in History

‘History as Democracy?’ is a series of events under the auspices of the History Workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute. Other projects of the Workgroup focus on what the historical study of ideas and processes of democratization, de-democratization, and so forth, may add to our understanding of democracy. In this one we ask where democracy ‘is’ in history as a discipline and a cognitive field, what the practice of history itself contributes to democracy and open society – to what extent and in what sense is or is not history ‘democratic’. It explores inclusiveness and exclusiveness in the cultivation of history in terms of choice of subject matter, access to information and dissemination, agency in creating ‘authentic’ historical knowledge – to mention but a few of the meta-level questions we hope to address in conversations with historians in the context of their relevant empirical work.

Historians can meaningfully contribute to the program and profile of the Democracy Institute not only by asking what the historical study of processes of democratization, de-democratization, and so forth, may add to our understanding of democracy. It may, indeed must also be asked where democracy “is” in history as a discipline and a cognitive field, what the practice of history itself contributes to democracy – to what extent and in what sense is, or is not history “democratic”. This relationship is a meta-level issue relevant to the formation and self-reflection of all historians and can be meaningfully engaged irrespective of one’s specific empirical research interests. By embracing it, the Democracy Institute may provide an important platform for CEU graduate students, researchers, faculty, visiting fellows and external scholars to develop joint projects relevant to its larger endeavors. For a start, a series of public conversations about these issues with a select range of historians, will be organized by a small team of graduate students and CEU faculty during the academic year 2021-2022.

BordEUr: New European Borderlands (BordEUr)

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Lead researchers: Andras Szalai
Researchers:
Gabriella Gobl De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)

BordEUr is a collaborative research project of nine universities that documents and assesses the proliferation of new borders in the aftermath of the EU’s recent crises, with a special emphasis on the so-called migration crisis. The project analyzes the symbolic role of borders in ontological narratives (those of both the EU and its member states), as well as the bordering policies that these narratives enable. The Democracy Institute's contribution highlights the role borders play in rightwing populists’ securitizing discourses, and how these discourses can advance de-democratization.

European Commission
Uncovering Media Influence in the UK (UKMIM)

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Lead researchers: Marius Dragomir
Researchers:
Eva Bognar Media and Technology

The project is part of the Center for Media Data and Society's Media Influence Matrix project that investigates the profound influence that rapid shifts in policy, sources of funding and technology companies in the public sphere are having on journalism today.

The project seeks to research the changing media landscape of the United Kingdom in three fields: 

  • government and policy space, with a focus on the changes in the policy and regulatory environment; 
  • funding, with a focus on the key funding sources of journalism and the impact on editorial coverage; 
  • technology in the public sphere, with a focus on how technology companies, through activities such as automation and algorithm-based content distribution, impact news media and journalism.

As the Center has done in the other countries included in the Matrix, the report on the UK is produced together with local partners. Researchers based in the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre carry out the data analysis while the Media Reform Coalition, a UK-based independent coalition of groups and individuals committed to maximizing the public interest in communications, coordinates advocacy and dissemination activities and serves as the main UK partner in the project. 

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Supporting the Promotion of Equality in Research and Academia (SUPERA)

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy

The aim of the SUPERA project is to implement 6 fully-fledged Gender Equality Plans (GEPs)  to articulate a structural understanding of gender inequalities, stereotypes and biases in research and academia. These GEPs will be developed and implemented in two different types of organizations: 4 in Research Performing Organizations (among them, CEU), and 2 in Research Funding Organizations

SUPERA holds four principles:

  • Cumulativeness. SUPERA will use solutions, tools and instruments that have already been developed under previous FP7 and H2020 projects, such as the GEAR tool, EGERA’s monitoring and evaluation methodology, and the knowledge acquired at GENOVATE, among others.
  • Innovation. SUPERA will use transformation design techniques inspired by design thinking and co-creation.
  • Inclusiveness. Through the creation and implementation of Gender Equality Hubs and Fab Labs, the whole research and academic community inside each partner organization will be mobilized, including faculty, undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD students, and administrative staff.
  • Sustainability. One of SUPERA’s main goals is to facilitate the institutionalization of Gender Equality measures beyond the project’s timeline. For this reason, top management support is paramount to the success of the project.

Phases of the SUPERA project

  • Planning phase, in which extensive preliminary diagnosis (baseline assessment) of the status of gender equality in the respective partner organizations will be carried out. Gender objectives will be defined, actions and measures will be designed to remedy the identified gaps (design of GEPs) and a timeline will be agreed upon.
  •  Implementation phase, in which the effective activities and measures will be implemented.
  •  Evaluation phase, in which the progress will be followed up on and assessed.

SUPERA key action areas

SUPERA has three areas of action, and one cross-cutting area:

  • Recruitment, selection and career progression support. SUPERA will review the existing recruitment and selection processes and procedures to promote equal opportunities for both sexes, while tackling horizontal and vertical segregation, and lack of family-friendly policies.
  • Leadership and decision-making. SUPERA aims at increasing transparency in decision-making processes and budget allocation, tackling problems such as gender imbalances in governing and decision-making bodies, and a lack of female senior role models.
  • Integrating gender in research and education content. SUPERA will contribute to showcase how gender-sensitive research improves the quality and relevance of knowledge and innovation, by addressing problems such as the disregard for the gender dimension in research content and the lack of gender-sensitive curricula.
  • Gender biases and stereotypes (cross-cutting area). SUPERA will analyze and develop specific measures to fight gender biases and stereotypes in order to create welcoming and respectful working and academic environments free of sexism and sexual harassment.
EU Horizon 2020
Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and Rule of Law (RECONNECT)

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Lead researchers: Dimitry Vladimirovich Kochenov
Researchers:
Rule of Law

What is RECONNECT?

RECONNECT is a four-year multidisciplinary research project on ‘Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law’, aimed at understanding and providing solutions to the recent challenges faced by the European Union (EU). With an explicit focus on strengthening the EU’s legitimacy through democracy and the rule of law, RECONNECT sought to build a new narrative for Europe, enabling the EU to become more attuned to the expectations of its citizens. RECONNECT brought together 18 academic partner institutions from 14 countries.

What were RECONNECT’s goals?

RECONNECT focused on the Union’s constitutive values of democracy and the rule of law. Firstly, it sought to evaluate the coherence within and between democracy and the rule of law, how they are interpreted and applied across the EU and its Member States, and how potential inconsistencies may affect legitimacy in the EU (principles and practices). Secondly, RECONNECT assessed the extent to which democracy and the rule of law failed to resonate with EU citizens, questioning how this may impact upon the legitimacy of the European project (perceptions). To address these questions:

RECONNECT aimed at understanding and explaining the EU’s legitimacy crisis, by focusing on the mismatches between the Union’s democratic and rule of law principles and the practices of institutions, as well as on how these are viewed by EU citizens. This citizen-centered approach shaped the analysis of four key policy areas: economic and fiscal governance, counter-terrorism, trade and migration.

RECONNECT provided solutions in the form of new policies that are citizen-focused and consistent with the EU’s principles, more effective and inclusive communications tools, and proposals for Treaty changes, thereby going to the root of the Union’s shortcomings. The aim was to enhance the EU’s legitimacy by ensuring convergence among EU and national principles, institutional practices and citizens’ perceptions and expectations when it comes to democracy and the rule of law.

The ultimate goal of RECONNECT was to create a new narrative for Europe that brings together the project’s findings and expresses a collective vision for the EU’s future, bridging the divide between citizens and the Union. This narrative sought to inspire and shape future debates on the European integration project.

EU Horizon 2020
New methods in data collection on discrimination against Roma in public services (ADinPS)

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Lead researchers: Marek Hojsik
Researchers:
Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy
 

The project aimed to contribute to fighting discrimination that Roma face in accessing public services  through developing, piloting and disseminating methods of data collection that can be easily implemented by NGOs and used to monitor discrimination in a regular and systematic way.

Guideline for NGOs on how to use “mystery shopping” method to detect and measure discrimination in a public service was developed in four languages:

During the project three grassroots NGOs, Amalipe (Bulgaria), ROMEA (Czechia) and Autonomia Foundation (Hungary) piloted the developed mystery shopping methodology in six experiments (two in each country):

  • Bulgaria: enrolment in school (online), access to municipal social housing (online),
  • Czechia: enrolment in school (online), renting municipal premises (online),
  • Hungary: enrolment in school (online), registration of car (in person),

and obtained data on discrimination that Roma face in accessing public services both accessed via online gateways and personal contact with providers. The findings of the analyses of collected data experience and results of the pilot experiments are summarised in Report on discrimination in public services available in four languages:

and in a Policy brief on discrimination against Roma in public services.

The NGOs participating in the project use the findings from the pilot experiments in their advocacy activities in Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary and in the EU.

The piloted mystery shopping methodology was disseminated among civil society through a set of training workshops:

  • traning for trainers on 4 November 2021 (9 participants)
  • capacity building training for NGOs in Bulgaria on 3 December 2021 (7 particiapnts)
  • capacity building training for NGOs in Hungary on 13 December 2021 (5 particiapnts)
  • capacity building training for NGOs in Czechia on 15 December 2021 (8 particiapnts).

The methodology will be further disseminated within capacity-building activities within the Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025 and will be available for more than 100 NGOs from 26 EU member states. A special training on the mystery shopping and monitoring of discrimination. in public services is planned for 2022.

European Commission Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC)
Hate speech, gender, social networks and political parties (GENHA)

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Lead researchers: Violetta Zentai
Researchers:
Judit Benke, Lilla Jakobs Inequalities and Democracy

The general objective of the project is to identify and analyze how the hate speech against the ‘ideology of gender’ has been appropriated by extreme right political parties in Europe using the social networks and internet. It also aims to propose which type of legal and public policies the Member States and the European Union can implement to protect the human rights at stake.

Within the scope of specific project objectives, GENHA will:

  1. Map where, when and how the extreme right political parties use the hate speech against gender theories through the social networks in the participating countries
  2. Analyze the content of this hate speech against gender theories and its political use and justification
  3. Identify the national and European legal frameworks to address this type of hate speech
  4. Identify and analyze the European and national case law dealing with these cases
  5. Identify and study possible self-regulations and norms of the social networks where these hate speeches take place
  6. Propose legal interventions and public policies to address this type of hate speech

In order to deliver the abovementioned objectives, GENHA will undertake the following activities:

  • Analysis of the most important bibliography and studies
  • Study of the European and national legal framework and public policies  
  • Analysis of the self-regulations of Facebook and Twitter
  • Qualitative and qualitative analysis of hate speech against gender
  • A pilot experience on agenda setting
European Union’s Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme
Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism and Polarisation (BRaVE)

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy

Far Right and Islamist groups seeking to recruit people to their particular political cause promote ‘black and white’ ideologies that lead to polarization, hatred, intolerance and violence. Often cherry-picking from religious doctrines, they rely on superficial understanding and interpretation of such doctrines. The activities of such groups can lead to disruption of social cohesion, diminished civic capacity, social tensions, hate speech, intolerance, discrimination and even violence. This project builds on existing knowledge and policy experience with a view of developing better analytical and policy tools for the design of more efficient resilience policies that counteract polarization and prevent violent extremism. The project starts with a critical reading of existing scholarly literature and with a critical mapping of existing policy approaches to develop a preliminary impact assessment of these approaches. It continues with a further survey of good practices in counteracting polarization and violent extremism and builds an integrated database of such practices. The project develops a Resilience Hub that engages with three types of factors that can promote or mitigate polarization and violent extremism in society: notably historical and cultural factors; socio-economic conditions; the role of the social media and networking. We develop stakeholder workshops in relation to these three sets of factors that affect radicalization in society, and follow up with digital forums with the participation of a large number of stakeholders. Each stakeholder dialogue builds a tool of resilience in their field: notably inter-faith education training for secondary school teachers; a proposal for a basic income policy that mitigates socio-economic inequalities; a guide to responsible social media design. The Resilience Hub further develops a Resilience Fair where arts-based community interventions to stop polarization and build resilience will be presented.

The general objectives of the BRaVE Coordination and Support Action are:

  1. Upgrade the knowledge infrastructure in the wider field of polarisation and extreme ideologies in Europe with a view of understanding better the different dynamics fostering polarisation and extreme rightwing and Islamist ideologies;
  2. Co-design Policy Tools, notably a set of cross national Polarisation Indicators, a Guide for an Ethical Code of Conduct for Social Media Developers, and a Policy Paper outlining how Basic Income policies could help mitigate polarisation trends;
  3. Co-design and co-create educational tools with relevant stakeholders, notably a series of Webinars and a Massive Open Online Course for educators and social workers;
  4. Network/Exchange with relevant stakeholders and implement resilience activities: through online and on-site Stakeholder Workshops, the BRaVE Fair for grassroots arts and sports projects that work to build resilience among youth.
EU Horizon 2020
Gender Equality Academy (GE Academy)

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Lead researchers: Andrea Krizsan
Researchers:
Viktoria Koszegi Inequalities and Democracy

The general goal of the GE Academy project is to develop and implement a coherent and high-quality capacity-building programme on gender equality (GE) in research and innovation (R&I) as well as in Higher Education (HE). GE Academy will develop and provide a series of comprehensive training formats and tailor-made training materials for trainers, practitioners and researchers, making these available to the widest possible audience in Europe and beyond. The GE Academy, with its full capacity-building programme including different training formats (Train-the-Trainers, physical trainings and interactive workshops, Summer Schools, webinars, online Distributed Open Collaborative Courses), will be built and executed in at least 15 countries.

Through its ambitious setup, the project aims at filling a gap in the current EU research landscape, marked by ongoing gender inequality in research organisations, the gender dimension of R&I being ignored or under-addressed, whereas needs in terms of gender awareness and capacity are recognised, but efforts to remedy the situation are still fragmented. The project will respond to the needs of those who contribute to and are involved in institutional change towards gender equality in R&I as well as in HE. The GE Academy will both tackle issues of gender equality in research institutions and research teams through structural change and address the gender dimension of research contents, following the three main ERA objectives for gender equality in research. At the same time, a pan-European network of gender trainers will be established, trained, coached and upskilled for delivering gender training sessions to R&I and HE communities in Europe and beyond. Throughout the project’s lifetime, attention will be paid to seeking modalities and solutions for ensuring the sustainability of the GE Academy project beyond the EU funding period.

Project Objectives

GE Academy will:

  1. take stock of existing resources and expertise in promoting GE in R&I, encompassing different approaches, problem areas, needs and tools in an inclusive and participatory perspective
  2. improve the understanding of GE within the R&I community by developing, testing, rolling out, evaluating and refining a robust set of capacity-building formats and accompanying training materials, covering institutional change issues as well as the integration of the gender dimension in R&I contents
  3. support its target audiences to get in contact with the community of experts and stakeholders active on GE in R&I and to become familiar with the tools, resources and expertise available within this community
  4. strive for a wide, balanced and sustainable uptake of gender issues across Europe and beyond through the implementation of a series of capacity building trainings in at least 15 European countries and making the developed training materials widely publicly available
  5. build a pan-European network of qualified trainers on GE in research
  6. contribute to a better integration and coordination of initiatives and efforts to foster Gender Equality in R&I, supporting their sustainability

Press release 1 (October 2019): Gender Equality Academy is commencing its cycle of training sessions
Press release 2 (January 2020): Gender Equality Academy invites candidates for the Train-the-Trainers session in Berlin
Press release 3 (June 2020): Gender Equality Academy announces its first Distributed Open Collaborative Course

EU Horizon 2020
UNEP@50: The UN Environment Programme we want from Major Groups and Stakeholders

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Lead researchers: Stephen Stec
Researchers:
Zselyke Tofalvi Environment and Democracy

In light of the commemoration of UNEP @ 50, the project will ensure that views of Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) on the future setting and priorities of UNEP are presented and taken into consideration. The project will collect ideas from MGS and result in new and innovative ideas and alternative views that are not necessarily mainstream and that may be provocative, pushing decision makers to consider fundamental rather than just incremental changes, taking into account the lessons learned from the COVID Pandemic and the key environmental challenges of today.

United Nations Small Scale Funding Agreement
Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments (TROPICO)

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Lead researchers: Andrew Cartwright
Researchers:
Borbala Varga Inequalities and Democracy

The TROPICO project (Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments) aims to comparatively examine how public administrations are transformed to enhance collaboration in policy design and service delivery, advancing the participation of public, private and societal actors. It analyses collaboration in and by governments, with a special emphasis on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and its consequences.

TROPICO includes four key pillars of the digital transformation towards better collaboration across public sectors in Europe: Pillar 1 assesses the institutional conditions and individual drivers and barriers is crucial for understanding the transformation of governments towards greater collaboration. The state structures and administrative traditions provide different 'starting points' of the public sectors in Europe. Likewise, individual attitudes, skills, and expertise of officials play a decisive role in understanding this transformation. Pillar 2 examines collaboration practices within governments (internal) across a variety of policy sectors. We study the actors and means of innovative collaboration, including ICT, and how they are interlinked. Pillar 3 focuses on collaboration between public, private and societal actors (external) for policy design and service delivery, looking into front line offices as well as novel public-private partnerships. Pillar 4 examines the effects of collaboration for legitimacy, accountability and government efficiency is essential to provide a comprehensive analysis of the transformation towards open, innovative, and collaborative governments.

TROPICO is multidisciplinary and has a comparative approach, examining ten countries reflecting the administrative traditions in Europe: Nordic (Norway, Denmark), Continental (Germany, Netherlands), Central and Eastern European (Estonia, Hungary), Napoleonic (France, Spain; Belgium), and Anglo-Saxon (United Kingdom). We combine rigorous quantitative and qualitative research methods. We involve leading universities and research institutes across Europe, including: University of Bergen (coordinating institution), University of Roskilde, University of Potsdam, Hertie School of Governance, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Technical University Tallinn, Central European University, CNRS (Pacte) - Sciences Po Grenoble, University of Zaragoza, University of Antwerp, Catholic University Leuven and Cardiff University.

 

EU Horizon 2020
NGOization of school-to-work transition among Roma youth (NGOST)

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Lead researchers: Abel Beremenyi
Borbala Varga Inequalities and Democracy

NGOST was a 24-month comparative research project conducted in three EU countries: Hungary, Slovakia and Spain. It aimed at critically examining policies and programmes that support school-to-work transition (STWT) reaching out to Roma youth. It focused particularly on the ‘NGOization’ of STWT programmes, that is the delegation of state functions to private entities, as a technique of neoliberal governance of minorities. 

NGOST’s key objectives were:

  • To critically examine policies and programmes related to school-to-work transition (STWT)
  • To conduct a cross-country comparison of the development of STWT regimes, their focus and/or outreach to Roma youth, and the role of non-state actors (NGOs) in their operation.
  • To investigate local practices of STWT through NGOs’ actions, and gauge their impact, with a particular focus on the labour market opportunities and STWT experiences of Roma young people themselves.
  • To elaborate theoretical and analytical frames to reflect on public policies dealing with the social inclusion of vulnerable minorities - particularly the Roma - through labour market inclusion.

The negative effects of the recent global economic crisis and its aftermaths had a disproportionately adverse effect on young people’s labour market opportunities, particularly those from ethnic minorities, such as the Roma. Investigating NGOization through an ethnographic lens, NGOST offered insight into how the withdrawal of state institutions and the massive presence of non-governmental organisations in the STWT programmes, and the corresponding neoliberal ethos of activation and self-responsibilisation, shape young Roma people’s chances on the labour market and their perceptions thereof. The case studies from three EU countires followed the three levels of inquiry: policies/programmes, key players’ (institutions and organisations) actions and beneficiaries’ biographical experiences.

Methodology and field sites

The project relied on a qualitative research design, complemented with quantitative data collection. Fieldwork included participatory observation both in Roma communities and in institutions and non-governmental entities, coupled with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with decision makers, workers and programme beneficiaries. Also, focus group discussions were organised in parallel with a brief survey administered to all the contacted workers.

Cross-country comparison allowed to analyse how different school-to-work ‘transition regimes’ contribute to the governance of ethnic minorities in diverse manners within the neoliberal paradigm. Each country’s transition system has distinctive features and internal logics. STWT research tended to emphasise the need to study the transition experiences of diverse social groups, among others, ethnic minority groups, and furthermore to explore within-group differences in the transition processes and outcomes. Nevertheless very few, if any, empirical studies had been conducted so far, that centre on non-immigrant ethnic minority groups. NGOST comparative research project aimed to fill this gap.

Project brochure

EU Horizon 2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions
Future Challenges to Education Systems in Central Eastern European Context (EDUC)

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Researchers:
Judit Benke Inequalities and Democracy

In the forthcoming two decades a dramatic change is expected in the societal, economic, technological, demographic and political environment of all education systems. These future changes are already imposing serious adaptation challenges to individual schools and school system. The “Future Challenges to Education Systems in Central Eastern European Context” (EDUC) is focusing on the following five sets of major external challenges: (1) the impact of new technologies on the labor market, (2) demographic changes and the new patterns of migration, (3) the impact of populist and authoritarian politics, (4) prevailing old and emerging new societal inequalities and (5) the impact of the globalization of learning environments and the internationalization of education. The education systems of the most developed countries are responding to these challenges by the reconsideration of goals for learning, by efforts for making education more personalized, by an emphasis on ever lengthier general education, by a new wave of the expansion of higher education and by experimenting with new methods of educational governance.

The EDUC research is focusing on the adaptability of education systems determined by the interplay between governance and the institutional operation of schools in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. The overall purpose of the research is looking at global changes in the specific context of the Central Eastern European countries along two major questions:

  • In the selected five countries of the region what are the major incentives for, and the main obstacles to shifting to an education that is more personalized, that is oriented towards the development of adaptive skills and that is more equitable?
  • How much are the various future challenges reflected upon in the educational policy discourse and in education modernization strategies of the CEE countries?

The research is based on writing country case studies, thematic comparative papers and on comparative statistical analysis with the involvement of individual researcher from the five countries. The audience of the EDUC project academic researchers, the educational policy communities of the countries of the region and international development organizations.

The end-product of the EDUC project will be an electronic book published by CPS containing thematic summary studies.

OSF – Education Support Program
History of European Political and Constitutional Thought

Lead researchers: Laszlo Kontler
Democracy in History

This book series (Brill), launched in 2019 and co-edited by Erica Benner (Berlin), Cesare Cuttica (Paris/Helsinki), Laszlo Kontler (CEU) and Mark Somos (Heidelberg) promotes the study of European traditions of political and constitutional thought from classical antiquity to the twentieth century. Three volumes have been published so far, and about half a dozen more are in advanced stages of preparation. The series and each new volume shall be presented with the involvement of expert commentators in the seminar series of the DI. 

Parliaments, estates and constitutions: Representative institutions and ideologies in ancient regime Europe

Lead researchers: Laszlo Kontler
Democracy in History

Within this project, initiated by Istvan Szijarto (ELTE), a conference co-hosted by CEU took place in 2019, and a volume co-edited by Szijarto, Wim Blockmans (Leiden) and Laszlo Kontler is being prepared. To paraphrase Quentin Skinner (“liberty before liberalism”), the project looks at aspects of constitutionalism before constitutionalism. It investigates parliamentary culture in the last century of the ancien régime in “peripheral” areas of continental Europe, where – unlike some of the core regions – the estates retained more substantial political powers than elsewhere. Prime examples include the sejm in Poland, the Diet in Hungary or the Riksdag in Sweden in the Age of Liberty. Particular emphasis is placed on motivations and political communication, and the interplay of ideas and practices. 

Reconstructing the interwar debate on the crisis of liberal democracy

Lead researchers: Balazs Trencsenyi
Democracy in History

Reconstructing the interwar debate on the crisis of liberal democracy from a transnational comparative perspective. Fed by the criticism of mass democracy at the turn of the century, such as Sorel, Pareto, or Le Bon, the feeling of crisis amplified after 1918 when actually most of Europe saw the expansion of parliamentary regimes, soon to be eroded by permanent infighting and eventually superseded by authoritarian projects in many countries. Along these lines, I hope to analyze different ideological and political groupings (liberals and neo-liberals, socialists, communists, populists, and fascists) and their use of the crisis-discourse, seeking also to draw some lessons relevant for understanding the post-1989 anti-liberal backlash in East Central Europe and beyond.