Jun 012015

is a non-partisan and non-profit association of researchers. Started as an informal network by female academics in 2011, it gathers young and experienced researchers from diverse disciplines dedicated to the study of democracy.

During the academic year 2015-2016, DemocracyNet.eu members based at the University of Zurich are organising a series of events on the theme “Democracy: Bridging Facts and Norms.”

Our next public event: Democracy and the Role of Intellectuals
Podium discussion, October 20, 2016, at 6.30 pm, University of Zurich

DemocracyNet.eu has two major objectives: Foster the exchange between academics, and between academics and practitioners, and transfer academic knowledge into society. The members of our network are interested in getting in touch with other researchers and practitioners to develop collaborations serving these aims.

Information about the network, its past activities, its current projects, and its members is available on this website. You can also learn more about how to get involved in the network here.

To receive news about our projects and activities, register to our mailing list and follow our facebook page!

 1. June 2015

DemocracyNet.eu - Justice and Democracy workshopPoster Event 3As the event series “Democracy: Bridging Facts and Norms” will come to an end on October 20, 2016, we are eager to start planning new activities, new workshops, and to foster new collaborations among democracy researchers with the association DemocracyNet.eu!

We are thus organizing a

on October 20, from 11.00 until 16.00, at the University of Zurich

and would be glad to include new members in these projects!

DemocracyNet.eu is an association for researchers and practitioners with a strong interest in democracy studies and democratic practices. It offers its members a light structure that enables them to organize academic workshops, more practice-oriented workshops, or public events. The overarching aim of the association is to create spaces in which the multidisciplinary exchange between researchers is fostered and communication between academics and the wider public is made possible.

The kind of projects that IMG_4250Foto 2-1could be developed thus include organizing new academic workshops, new events series, panels at conferences, or publications.

Attendance is free of charge, registration before October 1, 2016, is mandatory.
For registration and questions: Contact alice.el-wakil@zda.uzh.ch.

 23. August 2016

The workshop “Contextualizing Democracy: Culture, Capitalism, Inequalities,” the second of two workshops organized within the “Democracy: Bridging Facts and Norms” events series, took place at the University of Zurich on June 9-10, 2016.


10 speakers (PhDs and Postdocs) presented their work and obtained feedback from our four discussants, Alex Demirovic (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Silja Häusermann (University of Zurich), Urs Marti (University of Zurich), and Stefanie Walter (University of Zurich). The discussions were inspiring – and useful! – thanks to our speakers’ and discussants’ engagement through all three panels.

Please find the report of this workshop with the abstracts of the presentations here.

 14. July 2016

The International Conference in ‘Populism and Democracy’ organized by the second module of the research project NCCR DEMOCRACY, ‘Populism in times of Globalization and Mediatization’, hosted a panel discussion titled “Populism: A challenge for democracy, a challenge for research?” on June 28, 2016, in Zurich.
Top-researchers in the field of populism studies shared their views on the advancement of research on populism, but also on the role of populism scholars in democratic debates. As this topic is at the center of the upcoming and final event of the events series “Democracy: Bridging Facts and Norms,” and that the advice of Daniele Albertazzi, Frank Esser, Cas Mudde, Matthijs Rooduijn, and Marco Steenbergen could help younger researchers in democracy studies, we here share a few of the insights from this discussion gathered by Alice el-Wakil.

A valuable engagement…

The moderator of the event, Linars Udris, asked whether populism researchers should engage in public debates, particularly in the media, and if yes, how they should do it. All panelists seemed to share the view expressed by Rooduijn that we can be glad that researchers engage in public debates. For Steenbergen, political researchers have an important role to play in pointing out what is happening, and in clarifying what can be considered as wrong about it.

… with inherent risks

Yet there are risks inherent in becoming active in the media. On the one hand, Steenbergen and Esser emphasized that it requires skills to make the right message pass to the public through journalists: One has to be careful when it comes to communicating research findings to avoid it being misinterpreted – especially when it comes to a ‘hot’ topic such as populism, for which even a definition of the phenomenon can be difficult to understand. On the other hand, Albertazzi and Mudde mentioned the risks media engagement entails for an academic career. Mudde insisted on the fact that once something has been published online, it is there forever: Researchers should think seriously before engaging in social and other media – especially for those doing field work. Once one’s messages are noticed, one becomes a public intellectual, and looses the anonymity necessary for certain kind of research.

The decision of researchers to engage in public debates should thus, in Mudde’s view, be a personal one. His own choice was to follow his certainty that he should make his research available to larger audiences. The question of whether the increased knowledge on populism could, in the future, somehow benefit populist movements as well as the question of the extent to which this would be acceptable however remained open.

 7. July 2016