Centre for Research on Direct Democracy (c2d)
The C2D was founded in 1993 at the Department of Constitutional Law of the University of Geneva and became a part of the new centre for democracy studies in Aarau ZDA in September 2007.
The C2D is grateful to the Law Department of the University of Geneva for hosting the centre for 15 years and letting it develop into what it is today. The centre consists of researchers in law and political science who have devoted their research interests to direct democracy as a form of contemporary democracy.
Center for the Study of Imperfections in Democracy (DISC)
By now, the common wisdom that never in human history have so many countries been governed by democratically-elected leaders has been replaced by the widespread suspicion that democracy is in crisis.
Recent developments suggest that democracies of all ages are facing serious challenges. In response to a widespread suspicion that the quality of democracy in recently re(emerged) and established democracies is increasingly low, the Center for the Study of Imperfections in Democracy (DISC), a research center at Central European University, was established in 2007 to develop and encourage research that reaches across traditional academic and geographic boundaries that exist in the study of democracy by connecting researchers from distinct world regions and from various fields and perspectives.
The present challenges and changes give rise to serious concerns about political accountability and democratic performance that signal an imperative and critical need for learning more about the present and future state of democracy.
While clearly even the most advanced democracies are pale imitations of the democratic ideal, in order to analyze the state of democracy or prescribe policies for improving the state of democracy, there must be a clear understanding of the qualities of democracy. It is no longer sufficient to define a high-quality democracy through a description of the established democracies.
Given these circumstances, a thorough (re-) evaluation of the qualities of democracy is vital for the future of democracy research. DISC aims to advance the state of research and teaching on democracy to address the challenges faced in present-day democracies through research projects, educational programs, lecture series, and conferences.
Swedish Research Project Looking at Global Democracy
In the last decades, we have witnessed the emergence of powerful supranational institutions in the political sphere. This development provides a response to problems that are difficult to handle at the national level. However, it might be held that its adequacy depends on the extent to which the institutions are democratic, or constrained by democratic decision-making processes.
Indeed, it has been suggested that we should ultimately strive for a global democratic government, and that the development of bodies such as the EU is justified since it provides a step in that direction. Proposals of this kind provide the focus of our research project.
The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Democracy
The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Democracy is a multi-disciplinary research program launched by the Swiss National Science Foundation in 2005. The program examines the key challenges to democracy today and traces them to two major trends: globalization and the growing influence of the media on politics.
The NCCR’s basic research questions are: How are established democracies changing under the conditions of globalization and the mediatization of politics? And how can democracy be promoted horizontally (to non-democratic countries) and vertically (to supra-national regimes like the EU, the WTO, etc)?