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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.

Inequalities Seminar, list of past events

Publications by research group members: 2022-23 / 2021-22 / 2020-21



Andrea Krizsan Lead Researcher / Senior Research Fellow / CEU Professor
Zsuzsanna Arendas Research Affiliate
Abel Beremenyi Research Affiliate
Andrew Cartwright Research Fellow / CEU Associate Professor
Cansu Civelek Post-doctoral Fellow
Cristina Corduneanu-Huci Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor
Anil Duman Research Affiliate / CEU Professor
Olena Fedyuk Research Affiliate
Anna Fejos Junior Research Affiliate
Dorottya Fekete Junior Research Affiliate
Roland Ferkovics Co-Manager and Policy Officer
Eva Fodor Research Affiliate / CEU Professor / CEU Pro-Rector
Ruth Gazso Candlish Research Affiliate
Marek Hojsik Senior Project Manager
Eszter Horvath Research Assistant
Agnes Kende Research Fellow
Dana McKelvey Research Affiliate
Vera Messing Research Fellow
Gabor Petri OSUN Post-doctoral Fellow
Eszter Polgari Research Affiliate
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 Szabo Research Assistant
Julia Szalai Senior Research Affiliate / CEU Professor
Violetta Zentai Senior Research Fellow / CEU Professor


New Report: Examples of successful housing desegregation as a precondition of Roma integration

The CEU Democracy Institute has released a transnational thematic report entitled “Examples of Successful Housing Desegregation as a Precondition of Roma Integration” developed within the Roma Civil Monitor 2021-2025 initiative with participation of CSOs from six EU Member States.

Sarah Ganty and Karin De Vries: Non-discrimination in European Social Security Law: Exploring Safeguards Against Gender and Racial Discrimination

The Court of Justice of the EU has often taken an active role in developing case law on gender discrimination in relation to social security, a role that it has not played to the same extent where discrimination on the ground of racial or ethnic origin is concerned, our Research Fellow Sarah Ganty and Karin de Vries write in the latest CEU DI Working Paper.

Dorottya Redai: Lesbian Resistance Through Fairytales. The Story of a Children’s Book Clashing With an Authoritarian Anti-Gender Regime in Hungary

“After its release, the book [A Fairytale for Everyone] became the target of anti-gender attacks,” our Research Affiliate Dorottya Redai writes in her article in the Journal of Lesbian Studies.

Eszter Horvath on Our History of Our Struggles Project

“There are many lessons to be learned for current initiatives from studying these struggles, because they reveal patterns,” our Research Assistant Eszter Horvath said in an interview with Nepszava about our History of Our Struggles – Resource Bank about Hungarian Social Movements project.

Cansu Civelek: Beyond Lawfare: An Analysis of Law’s Temporality Through Russian-Doll Urbanization From Turkey

The article of our Post-doctoral Fellow, Cansu Civelek, published in the Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), opens a discussion about how temporalities in spatial and legal spheres are interlinked and shape both policymaking and governance mechanisms and resistance practices.


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.