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Challenges to democratic rule are intimately interlinked with individual access to democratic institutions, value formation, and articulation of needs. Research in this area will focus on the intersecting inequalities along the lines of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, migration status, as well as processes of group and identity formation.  It will investigate the causes of these inequalities at the local and global levels and their consequences for social inclusion, political participation and democratic governance. The group will also address questions of citizenship through the study of migration patterns, policies and outcomes, spatial and regional disparities, as well as the construction and deconstruction of the concept of national and internal “borders”. We will examine inequalities reflected in and generated by social policies and their relationship to different types of governance regimes, along with their impact on the political capacity of marginalized groups.  

A separate workstream will focus on questions of gender and democracy, exploring the use of gender in patterns of democratic governance as well as the consequences of gender regimes for inequalities, mobilization and social and political inclusion.   

The workgroup will further investigate the use of new democratic techniques, such as participatory budgeting or deliberative and digital decision-making, from the point of view of the inclusive translation of social demands into public policies. 

In this area, we will build on the body of research on equality and social justice, governance and participation, social policy and welfare regimes, and development policy at the Center for Policy Studies, which has become part of the CEU Democracy Institute.


Éva Fodor


Lead Researcher / Co-director / CEU Professor

Zsuzsanna Arendas


Research Fellow

Abel Beremenyi


Research Affiliate

Andrew Cartwright


Research Fellow / CEU Associate Professor

Cristina Corduneanu-Huci


CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor

Michael Dorsch


CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor

Anil Duman


CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor

Lilla Farkas   Research Affiliate
Olena Fedyuk   Research Affiliate

Anna Fejos


Junior Research Fellow

Dorottya Fekete


Junior Research Fellow

Adrienn Győry


Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Marek Hojsik


Policy Officer

Agnes Kende


Junior Research Affiliate

Andrea Krizsan


Senior Research Fellow / CEU Professor

Inna Melnykovska


CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Assistant Professor

Vera Messing


Research Fellow

Andras Molnar


Junior Research Fellow

Peter Rado


Research Affiliate

Dorottya Rédai


Research Fellow

Leyla Safta-Zecheria   Research Affiliate

Julia Szalai


Senior Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

Dorottya Szikra


Research Fellow

Zsuzsa Vidra


Research Fellow

Viola Zentai


Research Fellow


Research Projects

Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism and Polarisation (BRaVE)

Researchers: Andrea KrizsanZsuzsanna Vidra, Michael Zeller

The 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. It 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. In relation to these three sets of factors that affect radicalization in society, BRaVE Project develops stakeholder workshops, and follows 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.

Democracy and the Welfare State. Social Policy Reforms under Democratic Backsliding

The research project aims to fill the currently existing gap in scholarly work related to the connection between democratic backsliding and welfare state reforms. The trajectories of welfare states and the attitude of the population in relation to welfare are investigated in depth in four countries that experienced steep decline of their democratic institutions in recent decades: Hungary, Poland, the Russian Federation and Turkey. Generous benefits to families and individuals and the related populist discourse may meet popular demand and strengthen autocratic leaders and thus social policy may be a key part of the backsliding process. We apply mixed research methods that include quantitative assessment of welfare state effort and attitudes in these countries as well as qualitative content analysis of policy documents and discourses. The research team, together with high-ranking scholars from EUI, LSE and Bocconi University, received a CIVICA grant to scrutinize public health and social policy reforms under the Covid-19 pandemic in countries that moved towards undemocratic and populist rule recently, including (beyond the abovementioned countries) India, the Philippines, Argentina and Brazil.

Researchers: Dorottya Szikra, Adrienn Gyory, Kerem Oktem

Future challenges to education systems in Central Eastern European context (EDUC)

Researchers: Agnes KendePeter Rado

The “Future Challenges to Education Systems in Central Eastern European Context” (EDUC) is an OSF/ESP funded two year comparative research project aiming at assessing the ability of the education systems of five Central-Eastern European countries to adapt to various ongoing changes, such as technological changes and their impact on labor markets, demographic changes (ageing, migration, etc.), populist politics and autocratic governance, old and new inequalities, changing gender roles and globalization.  The research will focus 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 research is based on writing country case studies, thematic comparative papers and on comparative statistical analysis.

Gender Equality Academy (GE Academy)

Researchers: Andrea Krizsan, Dorottya Redai, Ana Belen Amil

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

Hate speech, gender, social networks, and political parties (GENHA)

Researchers: Viola Zentai, Andrea KrizsanAnna Fejos 

The objective of the "Hate speech, gender, social networks, and political parties - GENHA" project is to identify and analyze how hate speech against women, LGBT-persons and the "ideology of gender" has been appropriated by extreme right political parties in five European countries (Spain, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and Sweden) using the social networks and internet. It also aims to propose legal action and public policies that the Member States and the European Union can implement to restrict this special type of offensive speech. The project is funded by the European Union, Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme.   

MIMY: Empowerment through Liquid Integration of Migrant Youth in Vulnerable Conditions

Researchers: Zsuzsanna ArendasVera MessingViola Zentai

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.

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

Researcher: Marek HojsikViola Zentai

"New methods in data collection on discrimination against Roma in public services (ADinPS)” is a research project implemented with grassroots NGO partners from Bulgaria, Czechia and Hungary aimed at development of mystery shopping methodology and its implementation to test selected public services in the participating countries. The obtained evidence will be used in mediation and policy advocacy and the methods of data collection disseminated among NGOs to monitor discrimination in a regular and systematic way. 

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

Researcher: Abel Beremenyi

NGOST is a 24-month comparative research project conducted in three EU countries: Hungary, Slovakia and Spain. It aims at critically examining policies and programmes that support school-to-work transition (STWT) reaching out to Roma youth. It focuses 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.

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

Researchers: Andrea KrizsanDorottya Fekete 

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.

Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025

Researchers: Marek Hojsik, Violetta Zentai, Roland Ferkovics

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.

Supporting the Promotion of Equality in Research and Academia (SUPERA)

Researchers: Andrea KrizsanAna Belen AmilAnna Sara Burger

The main aim of the SUPERA project is to implement 6 fully-fledged Gender Equality Plans (GEP) to articulate a structural understanding of gender inequalities, stereotypes and biases in research as a cross-cutting issue to tackle in their complex, multi-layered dimensions and the inclusion of a gender perspective in research and academia, with a holistic set of measures addressing the above-mentioned objectives of the European Commission's strategy:

  • Building gender sensitive career management and workplaces;
  • Transforming decision-making towards accountability, transparency and inclusiveness;
  • Achieving excellence through strengthening the gender dimension in research and knowledge transfer.

The project will be designed based on four core principles that will tackle the main barriers of implementing GEPs in research organizations: cumulativeness; innovation; inclusiveness and sustainability.

Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments (TROPICO)

Researchers: Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright, Andras Molnar, Sara Svensson

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 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).


Dorottya Redai, Maria Tsouroufli: Gender Equality and Stereotyping in Secondary Schools

We are happy the announce that the volume edited by Maria Tsouroufli (Brunel University, London) and our Research Fellow Dorottya Redai has been published by Palgrave.

DI Launches New Project: Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025

We are happy to announce that the DI is the project leader in a consortium with ERGO Network, Fundación Secretariado Gitano and the European Roma Rights Centre that implements the Roma Civil Monitor initiative for the next four years.

Dorottya Redai Quoted by AP on Being Named to TIME100

On the occasion of being named by TIME to the 2021 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, AP interviewed our Research Fellow, Dorottya Redai.

Abel Beremenyi on Mentorship and Professional Orientation

Young Roma have irregular, random and typically short-term access to orientation supporting their higher education and professional life, our Research Affiliate Abel Beremenyi writes in his article in Hungarian news portal Qubit.

Eva Fodor: Gender is Not a Political Conspiracy

Gender is not an ideology, not a lobby, but a concept used for example to highlight inequalities between men and women, our Co-Director Eva Fodor said in an interview with the Hungarian news portal


Systemic Racism against Roma in Hungary

An animated film about the systemic racism against the Roma in Hungary, written by Visiting Researcher Agnes Kende puts the social exclusion of the Roma people in historical context.

Illiberalism, Democracy, Gender

What is the connection between the discourse on gender and the crisis of democracy? Moderated by Eva Fodor, the Co-Director of CEU Democracy Institute, Andrea Krizsan (CEU/DI) and Dorottya Szikra (Hungarian Academy of Sciences/CEU) discussed during the Researchers’ Night 2020 the role of gender in today’s politics and policymaking.