Democracy in Question

Most of the world’s population lives in a formal democracy today. But in both established and new democracies, trust in parliaments and political parties is plummeting. Worldwide, they are being torn apart by inequalities, political polarization and a politics of hate. Citizens are using the streets and the courts to challenge authority and to seek the accountability that is often missing at the ballot boxes. The form, content, institutions, practices and, ultimately, the very principles of liberal democracy are being called into question from India to Hungary and from Brazil to the US.

Hosted by Shalini Randeria, Rector of the IWM, Director of the Centre at the Graduate Institute, and Excellence Chair, University of Bremen (Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism). It features some of the most important voices in contemporary academia. Together they reflect on democratic experiences and experiments the world over and explore whether this crisis of democracy represents a historically unique challenge or whether parallels to political crises in the past can be discerned. Why have democratic institutions lost their legitimacy along with their capacity to mitigate inequalities by righting the wrongs of economic, racial and gender injustice? How can the disenfranchisement and disillusionment especially of impoverished and marginalized sections of the population be transformed into enthusiasm for democratic participation? And in the midst of crises, can we also see tendencies that point to a renewal and reform of democracy? While each episode addresses issues concerning the contemporary challenges to democracy in different contexts, the series is also committed to exploring themes in the longue durée of democracy that have occupied social scientists for decades.

Join Shalini Randeria and leading scholars for an exploration of the dilemmas facing democracies worldwide. Subscribe now, wherever you get your podcasts!

Forthcoming episodes:

Episode 2:
Laurence Whitehead
Official Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, Oxford University, and Senior Fellow of the College and
Yanina Welp
Research Fellow, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
Release date: October 22, 2020
How viable is Western liberal democracy when transplanted across the world? 

Episode 3:
Kim Scheppele
Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
Release date: November 5, 2020
• Dismantling democracy by democratic means (Hungary and US compared)

Episode 4:
Nancy Fraser
Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, The New School for Social Research
Release date: November 19, 2020
Does Democracy Provide Distributive Justice? Issues of Race and Gender

Episode 5:
John Keane
Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). Co-founder and director of the Sydney Democracy Network (SDN)
Release date: December 3, 2020
Is ‘Soft Authoritarianism’ the New Face of Elected Democracy?

Episode 6:
Ivan Krastev 
IWM Permanent Fellow and Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia
Tim Snyder
IWM Permanent Fellow and Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University
Release date: December 17, 2020
Interpreting the Lessons of U.S. Election Results for Democracy in the US and Elsewhere

Episode 7:
Robert Skidelsky
Keynesian economist, crossbench peer in the House of Lords
Release date: January 14, 2021
Can Democracy Exist in Austerity? How much of a Welfare State does Democracy need?

Episode 8:
Branko Milanovic
Visiting presidential professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality
Release date: January 28, 2021
Does Untamed Capitalism Destroy Democracy?

Episode 9:
Michael Ignatieff
Rector and President of Central European University in Budapest
Release date: February 11, 2021
Is Liberalism up to the Task of Saving Liberal Democracy?

Episode 10:
Mary Kaldor
Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit in the LSE Department of International Development
Release date: February 25, 2021
Democracy from Below: What real utopias can we build on?

This podcast series is co-produced by the Graduate Institute’s Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna, in cooperation with Research Group: Soft Authoritarianism, University of Bremen and in collaboration with Richard Miron and Anouk Millet (Earshot strategies).

               

  • Episode 2
    How Viable is Western Liberal Democracy when Transplanted Across the World?

    In this episode, Shalini Randeria explores in a conversation with Timothy Snyder the reasons behind Trump’s access to power, the propensities that Trumpian politics shares with fascism, the unaddressed original sins of American democracy, as well as the future predicaments for democracy opening up in the wake of Trump.
    Read more
  • Episode I
    A Trumpian Blip or a Fundamental Flaw in American Democracy?

    In this episode, Shalini Randeria explores in a conversation with Timothy Snyder the reasons behind Trump’s access to power, the propensities that Trumpian politics shares with fascism, the unaddressed original sins of American democracy, as well as the future predicaments for democracy opening up in the wake of Trump.
    Read more
  • Introducing Democracy in Question

    Today, liberal democracies are under unprecedented strain from within and without. In each episode, renowned social anthropologist and IWM rector Shalini Randeria invites a leading scholar to explore the challenges and dilemmas facing democracies around the world. They investigate what needs to be done to ensure the future well-being of our democratic institutions and practices.
    Read more

Latest Episodes

  • Episode 2
    How Viable is Western Liberal Democracy when Transplanted Across the World?

    In this episode, Shalini Randeria explores in a conversation with Timothy Snyder the reasons behind Trump’s access to power, the propensities that Trumpian politics shares with fascism, the unaddressed original sins of American democracy, as well as the future predicaments for democracy opening up in the wake of Trump.
    Read more

  • Episode I
    A Trumpian Blip or a Fundamental Flaw in American Democracy?

    In this episode, Shalini Randeria explores in a conversation with Timothy Snyder the reasons behind Trump’s access to power, the propensities that Trumpian politics shares with fascism, the unaddressed original sins of American democracy, as well as the future predicaments for democracy opening up in the wake of Trump.
    Read more

  • Introducing Democracy in Question

    Today, liberal democracies are under unprecedented strain from within and without. In each episode, renowned social anthropologist and IWM rector Shalini Randeria invites a leading scholar to explore the challenges and dilemmas facing democracies around the world. They investigate what needs to be done to ensure the future well-being of our democratic institutions and practices.
    Read more