Is There a Crisis of Democracy?

Professor Wolfgang Merkel, Director of the Democracy and Democratisation research program at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) and Professor of Political Science at the Humboldt University Berlin

Co-presented with the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights the Australian Research Council and the Sydney Social Justice Network

[b||4 October]

Public talk of a deepening crisis of democracy is ubiquitous today in Europe, the United States, Latin America and elsewhere. Inspired by Joseph Schumpeter’s classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Wolfgang Merkel examines whether and to what extent there is evidence for such a crisis. In a bold and broad-ranging look at the great conflicting trends of our time, he probes such phenomena as the long-term impact of migration, growing social inequality, the decline of political parties, austerity politics, individualisation and the rise of the critical citizen. With an eye on topical events, such as the unresolved Eurozone crisis, Merkel asks whether these powerful trends are having irreversibly ruinous effects on democracy or whether, on the contrary, these trends may turn out to be triggers for improving the methods and substance of democracy as we know it.

Professor Wolfgang Merkel

Professor Wolfgang Merkel is Germany’s best-known political scientist. He is Director of the “Democracy and Democratisation” research program at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) and Professor of Political Science at the Humboldt University Berlin. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and advisor to many European governments. He is also a non-party member of the Basic Values Commission of the Executive Committee of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a member of the social sciences review board of the German Research Foundation (DFG). You can find more information on Professor Merkel online here.