Report: DemocracyNet Research Workshop 2018

The research workshop “Democratic Participation: theoretical and empirical perspectives” organized by DemocracyNet and the Doctoral Program Democracy Studies (DPDS) took place at the University of Zurich on September 13-14, 2018.

It enabled 20 participants to engage in interdisciplinary academic discussions with other DPDS students, members of the association DemocracyNet, and other researchers working in the field of democracy studies.

Five panels

The academic discussions were structured in five panels:

  1. Forms of political participation
  2. Democratic legitimacy of non-elected actors
  3. Conceptualizing democratic systems
  4. Political consumerism
  5. Enabling citizens and civic engagement.

The 11 papers presented offered a variety of approaches and focused on different issues regarding democratic participation. Each speaker received detailed and constructive feedback from their discussants and from all the participants to the workshop, who engaged in insightful discussions.

Please find the full report of the workshop here

Public lecture and exchange session

As part of the workshop, Prof. Jean-Paul Gagnon (Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra) gave a public  lecture on September 13, 2018. The video of his lecture can be found here: “A Return to Basic Research in the Study of Democracy.”

In the exchange session, Prof. Jean-Paul Gagnon, editor of the journal Democratic Theory, shared some insights with all the participants about creating and running a peer-reviewed journal. A Q&A about the peer-review process followed.

Working sessions

Next to the panels, all participants were invited to adopt an active role and to start thinking about projects and collaborations they would like to develop with or without the association DemocracyNet. The working sessions aimed at fostering collaboration and team-work among researchers by exchanging ideas, creating a network of researchers in the field, and sharing knowledge.

A first session was devoted to getting to know the other participants and their interests regarding the organization of academic and transfer events and options for collaborations.
A second working session, moderated by Rebecca Welge, was specifically devoted to developing new projects.


Odile Amann (University of Zurich)
Hans Asenbaum (University of Westminster)
Palmo Brunner (University of Zurich)
Christian Caspar (University of Zurich)
Flavia Caroni (University of Zurich)
Claudia Chwalisz (OECD)
Matiu Dermont (University of Zurich)
Alice el-Wakil (University of Zurich)
Chris Ewert (University of Zurich)
Jean-Paul Gagnon (University of Canberra)
Jérôme Grand (University of Geneva)
Deborah Kalte (University of Zurich, ZDA)
Johanna Huber (University of Geneva)
Elena C. Mitrea (Central European University of Budapest)
Henri-Pierre Mottironi (Universityof Lausanne/SciencesPo)
Brenda Ogembo (University of Birmingham)
Victor Sanchez-Mazas (University of Geneva)
Marine Trichet (University of Zurich)
Michael Strebel (University of Zurich)
Rebecca Welge(University of Zurich)