“When faced with a choice between democracy and partisan loyalty, policy priorities, or ideological dogmas, who will put democracy first?”, our Research Affiliate Filip Milacic, Milan W. Svolik, Elena Avramovska and Johanna Lutz ask in their latest article in Journal of Democracy.
De- and Re-Democratization (DRD)
With its twin focus on democratic crises and democratic subversion (“de-democratization”) as well as on democratic resistance and democratizing struggles (“re-democratization”), the DRD research group places itself at the very center of contemporary debates on the global crisis of democracy. Within its broad thematic mandate, it addresses fundamental questions on democratic failure, subversion, resistance, and polarization.
- Democratic failure: The institutions of liberal democracy promise liberty, equality, and popular control. But they do not run on autopilot and may fail in many ways. More often than not, across world regions, democratic regimes are less deliberative, fair, and effective, and more unequal, violent, and self-referential, than we would like to see them. Riding a global wave, populists declare existing democracies bankrupt. Very often, their sweeping condemnations of democratic regimes have little to do with genuine democratic deficiencies. We should strive to understand them nonetheless: How can we recognize populists when we see them? Which are the claims they level against liberal democracy? Why do these resonate among citizens? Which is their potential for democratic renewal or destruction? We should not, however, grant populists the monopoly of democratic self-critique they claim for themselves. The critical self-reflection of democracy is an integral part of its defense.
- Democratic subversion: All around the globe, illiberal governments have been subverting democracy through practices that maintain the façade of democracy while hollowing out its spirit. In slow, stepwise paths of escalation, they have been picking from “the menu of manipulation” that sustains electoral authoritarian regimes. Which are their precise trajectories? To what extent do they transform political, economic, and social institutions? How do they manage to overcome societal and institutional constraints? Which are the structural, institutional, and political conditions of their success? Which are their material, and which their ideological, bases? Which their conceptions of democracy? Whom do they include, and whom exclude, as legitimate members of the nation and the people? What do we know about the extent and sources of their popularity?
- Democratic resistance: To the degree that illiberal governments succeed in the gradual subversion of democracy, democrats find themselves struggling within the complex two-level game that defines electoral authoritarianism. At the game level of electoral competition, they need to persuade voters. At the meta-game level of institutional conflict, they need to overcome authoritarian structures and practices. How do they handle the related uncertainties about the weight of authoritarian manipulation? How the ensuing normative and strategic dilemmas? How do they reach voters? How do they exert institutional pressures? How do they manage to cooperate among themselves and how to provoke fissures within the regime?
- Democratic polarization: Processes of democratic subversion may, or may not, originate in fundamental political confrontations. Yet, invariably, they generate them. Invariably, they give rise to dynamics of polarization in which political adversaries come to perceive each other as existential threats to democratic coexistence. How do such polarizing conflicts get ignited? How can they be avoided or reverted? How do they shape the relations among citizens and between political adversaries? How do they feed the erosion of democracy?
- Democratic foundations: What does democracy require? The current crisis of democracy compels us to rethink its foundations. Our four strategic themes speak in manifold ways to the normative, cognitive, social, and institutional bases of liberal democracy. Blending political theory and comparative empirical research, we strive to reassess the complex conditions that make liberal democracy possible.
|Andreas Schedler||Lead Researcher / Senior Research Fellow|
|Daniel Bochsler||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor|
|Matthijs Bogaards||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor|
|Alexander Bor||Post-doctoral Fellow / CEU Visiting Faculty Member|
|Andras Bozoki||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor|
|Laszlo Bruszt||Co-director / CEU Professor|
|Gina Donoso||Research Affiliate / CEU Visiting Professor|
|William Edmonds||Fulbright Fellow|
|Zsolt Enyedi||Senior Research Fellow / CEU Professor|
|Dorit Geva||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor|
|Flora Hevesi||Research Assistant|
|Erin Kristin Jenne||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor|
|David Karas||OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Janos Kis||Senior Research Fellow / CEU University Professor|
|Eszter Kovats||Research Affiliate|
|Levente Littvay||Research Affiliate|
|Balint Madlovics||Junior Research Fellow|
|Balint Magyar||Senior Research Fellow|
|Jennifer McCoy||Research Affiliate|
|Carlos Melendez||OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Inna Melnykovska||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Assistant Professor|
|Wolfgang Merkel||Senior Research Fellow|
|Vera Messing||Research Fellow|
|Balint Mikola||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Filip Milacic||Research Affiliate|
|Edgar Sar||Junior Research Affiliate|
|Carsten Q. Schneider||CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor|
|Andras Szalai||Research Affiliate|
|Lili Turza||Junior Research Affiliate|
|Franziska Wagner||Research Assistant|
|Edit Zgut-Przybylska||re:constitution Fellow|
“There is growing tension in society about who vaccinates and who doesn't, and what rules we make along those lines,” our Post-doctoral Fellow Alexander Bor said to Telex.
With this Working Paper focusing on the increasing prevalence of polarization in democratic systems by Andreas Schedler, lead researcher of our De- and Re-Democratization (DRD) Workgroup, the CEU DI Working Papers series has officially been launched.
Julia Sonnevend, Olivia Steiert: The Power of Predictability: How Angela Merkel Constructed Her Authenticity on Instagram
“Instead of shaping her online persona according to the traditions and style of Instagram, Merkel attempted to bend Instagram to host her unique persona,” our Research Affiliate Julia Sonnevend and her PhD student Olivia Steiert write in New Media & Society.
Alexander Bor, Frederik Jorgensen, Michael Bang Petersen: Discriminatory Attitudes Against the Unvaccinated During a Global Pandemic
In their article in Nature, our Post-doctoral Fellow Alexander Bor and co-authors Frederik Jorgensen and Michael Bang Petersen quantify discriminatory attitudes between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens in 21 countries.
Did you miss the presentation of our Research Affiliate Erin Jenne, who introduced the Nationalism-Populism-Social Conservatism database of chief executives? Watch it now!
Our Research Affiliate Zsolt Enyedi was interviewed by Cas Mudde for his Radikaal Podcast series.
Did you miss this lecture on polarization and protecting democracy by our Research Affiliate Jennifer McCoy? Watch it now!
Did you miss this lecture by Filip Milacic, Senior Researcher for Democracy and Society at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Vienna? Watch it now!
Ken Roberts talks to Levente Littvay about "Populism, Political Conflict and Grass Roots Organization in Latin America."