Publication State / Democracy - Participation / Civil Rights - Europe - Social Theory The Crisis and Future of Democracy

A new volume exploring the existential challenges facing democratic societies in Europe and beyond



November 2022

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Illustration: Alberto Favaro

Democracy is in jeopardy. The rise of authoritarian populism, the polarization of politics, and the attacks on the foundations of liberal representative democracy leave little doubt about it. The fallout of the COVID-19 crisis has only reinforced these tendencies. Yet, we also see a revitalization of radical demands for democratic renewal. Societies are once again acknowledging that inequality is hurting democracy. Calls for democratic regulation of key sectors are getting louder.

Demands for inclusion, equality, and redistributive justice are gaining currency. These trends are reactions to a democratic system that appears ill-equipped to address the fundamental conflicts underlying the problems facing our societies. As political institutions struggle to tackle a plethora of “crises”, polities are changing how they deal with the most basic democratic questions, i.e. who decides on what, for whom, and how.

The new volume Crisis and Future of Democracy aims to take stock of some of the key problems permeating contemporary liberal representative democracy in Europe (and beyond), and discuss proposals for bottom-up restructuring of politics and society with a view to a radical democratization process. It explores approaches to transforming the conditions of democratic representation and participation at all levels of politics, to forge an inclusive, equal, free, and just society.

In 14 chapters, this book tackles a wide range of problems surrounding democracy and how it might evolve, often drawing the reader’s attention to less-discussed matters. The authors, with their diverse country and disciplinary backgrounds, bring together a wealth of knowledge, astute insights, and forward-looking conclusions about the state of democracy, the potential for democratic change, and the actors and strategies that can get us there. We hope it will inspire political action striving for a democratization of democracy.

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