Introducing Democracy in Question


Latest Episodes

  • Episode 7
    How Does Austerity Politics Weaken Democracy?

    Since the introduction of neoliberal policies under Thatcher and Reagan many countries worldwide have implemented austerity politics that dismantled social security programs by cutting public funding. Our guest today, the renowned British economist, Lord Robert Skidelsky has argued that liberal democracy rests on a welfare state, so that austerity politics and the rise of populism in the West are interlinked.
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  • Episode 6
    What will remain of Trumpism going forward?

    Joe Biden was declared the next president of the United States over a month ago now, but Donald Trump has not yet concededhis own defeat. Claiming voter fraud he has launched legal battles to try to undo the results of the election, to no avail. What mechanisms, institutions and narratives has he used? And to what long term effects? In this episode, we are joined by Professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University) and Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies and IWM) to understand what will remain of Trumpism going forward and how it will impact democratic legitimacy the world over.
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  • Episode 5
    ‘Soft Authoritarianism’, a New Face of Electoral Democracy?

    A new kind of elected leader has emerged across the globe: one who rules with a large parliamentary majority and this with a claim to democratic legitimacy, but who uses power to hollow out democracy from the inside. So is such ‘soft authoritarianism’ that uses the law to undermine liberal principles a new face of electoral democracy? Professor John Keane(University of Sydney) helps us dissect this pervasive pattern of new despotisms and their strategies of rule.
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  • Episode 4
    Can Liberal Democracies Right the Wrongs of Racial and Gender Injustices?

    We have recently seen millions of people taking to the streets to protest social, political and environmental injustices. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop protesters across the world from showing their support to the Black Lives Matter movement. In this episode, we’re joined by Professor Nancy Fraser (The New School) and ask: can liberal democracy provide the distributive justice citizens seem to crave?
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  • Episode 3
    Undermining Democracy by Democratic Means: how can we stop it?

    As the results of the 2020 US election are trickling in, we are taking a look at how laws - and notably electoral laws - can be used to dismantle the constitutional systems from within. In this episode, our guest Professor Kim Lane Sheppele (Princeton University) helps us understand how a new kind of elected leader is using their democratic mandates to take the whole system apart, how they are getting away with it and what we can do to stop it.
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  • Episode 2
    How Viable is Western Liberal Democracy when Transplanted Across the World?

    In this episode of Democracy in Question? Shalini Randeria asks if the ideals of liberal democracy – free and fair elections, separation of powers, rule of law and respect for human rights – may be exported easily from the West to other parts of the world? This is a question especially salient when some of these very ideals are being undermined in several countries including the United States (more about this question in the first episode? Further, Prof. Randeria asks her guests, Laurence Whitehead and Yanina Welp, if Western models of democracy ought to be transplanted to other regions of the world at all?
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  • Episode 1
    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.
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  • 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.
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