Workshop: “This is Fine” – Democracy in Times of Crises

September 9-10, 2021 | Online
Co-hosted by by the Doctoral Program Democracy Studies and DemocracyNet

Workshop description

In late December 2019, the first reports of the emergence of a “new lung disease” in Wuhan, China appeared in the media. Starting in January 2020, cases slowly became more numerous, spreading outside of China, and the disease was given a name: Covid-19. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization finally declared Covid-19 a pandemic; since then, not a day has gone by without Covid-19 dominating the headlines and our daily lives.

In a similar way, our political systems have been shocked by this pandemic, and the consequences for democracy are profound. But despite the current focus on Covid-19, let us not forget that democratic systems face many other political, environmental, social, and economical crises. Climate change is an ever more urgent issue, and many fear the onset of a new economic recession caused by the pandemic. Moreover, social inequality, intergenerational fairness, growing societal cleavages, and many other issues are pressuring democratic legitimacy all over the world.

This two-day workshop is dedicated to the external and internal crises that challenge democratic systems regarding their capacities to act, their quality of governance, and their ability to generate political trust and legitimacy. The workshop follows a unique format: It invites interested PhD candidates and other young scholars to present and discuss their work. But it also invites non-academics such as doctors, teachers, and police officers to share their own experiences in a truly interdisciplinary approach. Together, we want to understand and discuss how our democratic societies are equipped to handle fundamental crises. This way, the workshop seeks to foster a dialogue between academic research and practical experiences about the pandemic’s implications for politics, markets and society.


Call for Applications

To register, please contact Lea Heyne ( and Christian Ewert
( by August 30, 2021.

Participants who wish to present their work at the workshop should apply with a short abstract. Graduate students can be granted 1 ECTS for their participation; conditions include attendance and active participation at the entire workshop, as well as either a presentation or writing a short blog post (approx. 2000 words) after the workshop.

Auditors are welcome. There is no fee.

The workshop is kindly supported by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland.