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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


Violetta Zentai on Roma Integration in the EU

The Hungarian government did not take into account what criteria the EU thinks should be included in the national Roma strategy, Violetta Zentai, lead researcher of our Inequalities and Democracy Workgroup said to Qubit.

EU Commission Report Refers to DI’s Roma Civil Monitor Project

The European Commission’s Assessment Report of the national Roma strategies relies on the project implemented by a consortium led by the CEU Democracy Institute.

Abel Beremenyi, Xavier Rambla (eds.): Transiciones de la escuela al trabajo en condiciones de vulnerabilidad social en Europa y América Latina

The latest special issue of Profesorado, co-edited by our Research Affiliate Abel Beremenyi and Xavier Rambla, focuses on the school-to-work transition among vulnerable youth in different geographical and policy contexts.

Zsuzsanna Arendas, Vera Messing: ‘I Was Told the Position Has Already Been Filled’ – Barriers to Mobility and Coping Strategies of Highly Qualified Roma Youth on Their Way to the Business Sector in Hungary

Our research fellows Vera Messing and Zsuzsanna Arendas wrote for the East European Journal of Society and Politics about the barriers to mobility and coping strategies of highly qualified Roma youth on their way to the business sector in Hungary.

Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025: Civil Society Monitoring Reports on New National Roma Strategies Published

Roma civil society’s monitoring reports assessing new national strategies for Roma equality, inclusion, and participation are now published within the EU-wide Roma Civil Monitor initiative.


Georgiana Turculet on the Launch of Her Documentary

In this interview with New Sound Level, our Research Affiliate Georgiana Turculet talks about the launch of her documentary.

Dorottya Redai on Sex Education and Child Protection in Hungary

No child is protected from violence at school or domestic abuse by the so-called child protection law in Hungary our Research Affiliate Dorottya Redai argues in a video with

Book Launch: Gender Equality and Stereotyping in Secondary Schools

Did you miss this book launch with Eva Fodor (Pro-Rector for Foresight and Analysis, CEU), Geeta Ludhra (Brunel University London / Dadima's CIC), Maria Tsouroufli (co-editor / Brunel University London), Dorottya Redai (co-editor / Research Affiliate, CEU Democracy Institute), Areta Sobieraj (co-author / Oxfam Italy)? Watch it now!

Dorottya Redai on the Book Project "Fairyland is for Everyone"

Dorottya Redai talks about "Fairyland is for Everyone," a volume containing fairy tales by contemporary authors with diverse characters from various marginalized or disadvantaged groups.

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.