Building Global Democracy

The Building Global Democracy Programme explores how ‘rule by and for the people’ can be understood and practised in relation to global issues. How can democracy be meaningful in today’s more global world? How can affected people participate in and control the governance of global concerns such as climate change, financial crises, health challenges, human rights, internet communications, security problems, and trade?

Launched in 2008, the Building Global Democracy Programme brings together interested academic researchers, civil society activists, entrepreneurs, journalists and officials from all world regions. Our projects cover issues such as: rethinking democracy for a global age; citizen learning for global democracy; including the excluded in global policymaking; resource redistribution for global equity; and intercultural constructions of legitimate global governance.

The BGD Programme is facilitated and coordinated through a convening group of ten persons based in ten world regions. Our administrative office is located in the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation at the University of Warwick. Core funding is provided with a generous grant from the Ford Foundation.


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common wisdom that never in human history have so many countries been governed by democratically-elected leaders has been replaced by the widespread suspicion that democracy is in crisis.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.


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.


Centre for the Study of Democracy

The Centre for the Study of Democracy undertakes research, teaching and knowledge exchange in democratic theory and practice. Established in 1989, it is now a major international centre for intellectual reflection and engagement on issues relating to democracy, civil society and processes of democratisation. , John Keane and have been leading contributors, and the Centre’s staff and students are currently engaged in a diverse range of research projects. CSD is an open, pluralistic and inter-disciplinary community, dedicated to bringing theory, practice and people together to deepen democracy.

CSD holds regular seminars, workshops and conferences. It also collaborates with other institutions in the organisation of international events. Recently, this has included ‘The Future of Europe,’ (with Birkbeck College, School of Law) and’A Multipolar World Orde,’ (with the Open University and Newcastle University).

The Centre is a founding member of the Space of Democracy/Democracy of Space Network. It publishes The Bulletin and hosts the annual CSD Encounter. This has included speakers such as Charles Taylor, Stuart Hall, Julia Kristeva, Bruno Latour, Quentin Skinner, Richard Rorty, Michael Walzer and Judith Butler.


Democracy Unbound

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.


Democracy: Structures, Performance, Challenges (Research Unit)

The department investigates how institutions and political actors interact in a democracy – and how efficiently established and young democracies are when it comes to solving economic and social problems. The theoretical framework is embedded democracy – a concept in which democracies are kept intact by systems of government with interlocking partial regimes: an electoral regime, political liberties, civil rights, horizontal accountability and an effective power to govern. This approach provides a comprehensive analysis of these partial regimes, in relation both to each other and to external challenges to democracy. Researchers focus on the diagnosis of the challenges to democracy, the comparative analysis of institutional systems, such as government or electoral systems, and the comparative study of important political actors such as parliament, administration or jurisdiction.


Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (MDCEE)

The project looks at the often troublesome and poorly understood relationship between democracy and the media in Central and Eastern Europe.

Existing studies tend to focus on whether media are good or bad for democracy. Western media models assume that democratic institutions pre-date the rise of media, and that core qualities of democratic governance exist (including the rule of law, political pluralism, freedom of speech and information). But such assumptions do not necessarily apply in Central and Eastern Europe, where democratic institutions and media institutions emerged simultaneously and interdependently in a period of rapid and often chaotic reform.

Our project intends to take a novel and interdisciplinary approach to the question.

We aim to reverse the common framing of the media-democracy relationship. Instead of asking how media performance of certain normative functions (such as information provision and holding power elites to account) influences democracy, we ask:

What kind of democracy is needed for media to perform its agreed-upon normative functions?

In other words, we are interested in the quality of the media as a function of the quality of democracy.


Parties and Elections in Europe

Parties and Elections in Europe provides a comprehensive database about the parliamentary elections in the European countries and autonomous subdivisions since 1945 and additional informations about the political parties, the electoral systems, the acting political leaders, the governments and the electoral laws. The parties are characterised according to their political orientation. The website also contains an electoral calendar, news in brief and links to parties and election authorities. T he database currently contains the results of legislative elections from all European countries and more than 100 subdivisions. Use the menu bar to find every listed country, region or province.


The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD)

The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) at Leuphana University Lüneburg conducts research on democratic structures and procedures in politics and society, economics and the environment. The central focus of research is on questions of legitimacy and performance of democracy in the 21st century.

The Center’s research activities focus on three main areas: Value Change and Human Empowerment, Party Government and Institutional Change and Participation and Public Policy. In addition, the CSD engages in active promotion of younger researchers as well as in international and regional networking of democracy research institutions.


The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD)

Founded in late 1989, the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is an interdisciplinary public policy institute dedicated to the values of democracy and market economy. CSD is a non-partisan, independent organization fostering the reform process in Bulgaria through impact on policy and civil society.

CSD objectives are:

to provide an enhanced institutional and policy capacity for a successful European integration process, especially in the area of justice and home affairs;

to promote institutional reform and the practical implementation of democratic values in legal and economic practice;

to monitor public attitudes and serve as a watchdog of the institutional reform process.

Building bridges is the old-fashioned way of bringing together social actors and cementing new alliances. Born as a think-tank, the Center for the Study of Democracy has evolved into policy development through dialogue and partnership.

Bringing cutting-edge solutions to transition problems is our way of keeping the middle ground between academia and social practice.

The CSD has pioneered in several areas traditionally perceived as the inviolable public property, such as anti-corruption institutional reform, and national security.

Our belief is that bringing a new culture of cooperation and trust in a milieu of inherited fragmentation and opacity is equally rewarding as the achievement of concrete social goals.


The Centre for Democracy Studies (ZDA)

We are an academic research centre at the University of Zurich dealing on an interdisciplinary level with basic research and current scientific issues relating to democracy – here, there and everywhere.

The Centre for Democracy Studies (ZDA) was established in March 2009 in Aarau to practice and promote top level scientific research and teaching on democracy in political science, law and political education. The national research programme “ Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century ” (Website NCCR Democracy) provided an important impulse for the establishment of the ZDA.

The ZDA is a meeting point for qualified researchers, interested bodies and curious citizens from around the world who care for democracy and its development.


The European Inter–University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC)

EIUC is an interdisciplinary centre formed by 41 universities from all European Union Member States. It is founded on a commitment to the realisation of the values enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, the promotion of high-level inter-disciplinary human rights education, research, training and culture, and a shared global understanding of human rights and democracy. EIUC is located in Venice, Italy.


The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA)

The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) is a one-year advanced master’s course aimed at preparing professionals to respond to the operational requirements of daily work in international organisations, field operations, governmental and non-governmental bodies, and academia.

E.MA offers an action- and policy-oriented approachto learning that combines interdisciplinary perspectives with skills building activities. While studying in a multicultural environment, students have the opportunity to meet and be taught by representing the , officials of international organisations (including the European Union, the United Nations and the Council of Europe) and experts and practitioners of national and international NGOs.

E.MA is both a residential and an exchange programme: during the students stay in Venice (Italy), while for the they move to one of the E.MA participating universities located throughout Europe. The course also includes a week-long to a post-conflict country.

E.MA is the main teaching programme of the .


The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide.

International IDEA’s mission is to support sustainable democratic change by providing comparative knowledge, and assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics. What does International IDEA do? In the field of elections, constitution building, political parties, gender in democracy and women’s political empowerment, democracy self-assessments, and democracy and development, we undertake our work through three activity areas:

  • Providing comparative knowledge derived from practical experience on democracy building processes from diverse contexts around the world;
  • Assisting political actors in reforming democratic institutions and processes, and engaging in political processes when invited to do so; and
  • Influencing democracy building policies through the provision of our comparative knowledge resources and assistance to political actors.

Where does International IDEA work? International IDEA works worldwide. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, it has offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America


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)?


The Oxford Centre for the Study of Inequality and Democracy (OCSID

The Oxford Centre for the Study of Inequality and Democracy (OCSID) – is a new organization aiming to promote both independent and collaborative research among the diverse community of comparative politics specialists at Oxford.

The Centre will foster the analysis of a broad range of issues and institutions in established and new democracies as well as the analysis of economic, social and political inequalities in regimes of any type.