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Inequalities and Democracy

Research profile

The workgroup explores contemporary politics of inequality in Europe and beyond. We examine political and policy formations that address and shape inequality mechanisms and social hierarchies based on gender, class, ethnicity, race, ability, and human mobility and their intersections. Research in the workgroup pursues case based as well as comparative inquiries that connect these wider equality, social justice, and social policy agendas with outstanding democracy, de- and re-democratization puzzles. Research addresses among others:

  • old and new agendas in human rights based emancipatory struggles in times of crisis and crisis management;
  • the challenges and potentials of civil society participation in facilitating more inclusive democratic politics;
  • the (re)production of inequalities and social exclusion in authoritarian and de-democratizing regimes;
  • the emergence of new forms of social solidarity in urban, domestic, and transnational contexts in times of democratic crisis.

A wide range of methodological approaches are applied and combined including qualitative, interpretive, ethnographic, participatory, as well as quantitative, bigdata based and mixed methods.

The workgroup researchers possess contextual knowledge and have access to relevant scholarly networks in Latin America, the Middle East, Turkey, and India in addition to our deep familiarity with different parts of Europe, Central and South-East Europe, and select post-Soviet states and societies.

Research agendas for 2022/23

During academic year 2022/23, the workgroup will devote specific attention to linkages between the politics of socio-economic and distributive inequalities, their intersections with other social inequality grounds, and the contestation of democracy. This will include:

  • strategic profiling of the already accumulated knowledge on social inequalities enacted through gender, ethnic, racial, ability and human mobility based social hierarchies and political mechanisms. To this end, we are organizing academic discussions and events to unpack the nexus of socio-economic inequalities and political polarization, spatial processes of distributive struggles and exclusions intersecting with gender, ethnic, racial, ability and mobility based hierarchies;
  • scholarly exchanges with other workgroups of the Democracy Institute. Cooperation is explored with the De(re)democratization WG in connection to the two new Horizon Europe funded democracy research projects (AUTHLIB, CCINDLE). Cooperation is ongoing with the History WG in regard to history of ideas on social justice and inclusive politics, avenues of democratization through participation, legal struggles for empowerment and disempowerment of selected social groups, among other topics.

Publications by research group members (2021-22)

Publications by research group members (2020-21)



Andrea Krizsan Lead Researcher / Senior Research Fellow / CEU Professor
Taraf Abu Hamdan Research Assistant
Zsuzsanna Arendas Research Affiliate
Abel Beremenyi Research Affiliate
Andrew Cartwright Research Fellow / CEU Associate Professor
Cansu Civelek Post-doctoral Fellow
Cristina Corduneanu-Huci 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 Affiliate
Dorottya Fekete Research Assistant
Roland Ferkovics Policy Officer
Alberto Fierro OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow
Eva Fodor CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor / CEU Pro-Rector
Adrienn Gyory Post-doctoral Fellow
Marek Hojsik Policy Officer
Agnes Kende Research Affiliate
Inna Melnykovska CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Assistant Professor
Vera Messing Research Fellow
Anand Murugesan CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Assistant Professor
Kerem Gabriel Oktem Research Fellow
Gabor Petri OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow
Laura Rahm Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow
Dorottya Redai Research Affiliate
Leyla Safta-Zecheria Research Affiliate
Mirjam Sagi Post-doctoral Fellow
Eva Schwab OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow
Bernadett Sebaly Junior Research Affiliate
Julia Szalai Senior Research Affiliate / CEU Professor
Dorottya Szikra Research Fellow
Georgiana Turculet Research Affiliate
Violetta Zentai Research Fellow / CEU Associate Professor


Bernadett Sebaly on the History of Civil Resistance in Hungary

Critically engaging with post-transition social struggles is a way of expanding our political imagination and a necessary step towards creating an attractive vision of the future, our Junior Research Affiliate Bernadett Sebaly and Eva Tessza Udvarhelyi (School of Public Life) write in their article on

Andrea Krizsan, Conny Roggeband: The Gendered Face of Democratic Backsliding

“It's tempting to see misogyny merely as a deviant trait of individual leaders. However, misogyny is a more general phenomenon in autocratizing regimes,” Andrea Krizsan, lead researcher of our Inequalities and Democracy Workgroup and Conny Roggeband write in their post on The Loop.

Dorottya Szikra on Autocratic Family Policy Expansion

Strange and unconventional benefits do not support the needy, and social policy instruments are not only used for social policy purposes, our Research Fellow Dorottya Szikra said to Qubit.

Roland Ferkovics on Roma Identity and Problems with Hungarian Higher Education

“The entire public image of Roma is based on misconceptions,” Roland Ferkovics, Co-Manager and Project Officer of our Roma Civil Monitor project said in an interview with Times Higher Education.

EC High Level Group With Dorottya Szikra Presented Its Report

The European Commission's High Level Group on the Future of Social Protection in Europe, which our Research Fellow Dorottya Szikra is a member of, presented its report and recommendations in Brussels.


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.