Democracy between Crisis and Transformation: Normative and Institutional Perspectives

Academic Year: 
Course Description: 

The course departs from the insight that democracy is in crisis. The core aim of the course is twofold. First, we propose to explore the sources and different dimensions of the crisis. Second, we intend to examine whether the dynamics of the crisis contains the seeds of transformation. The crisis of democracy can be approached in many ways, by using different methodologies, theoretical frameworks, studying different subjects, or different dimensions of the same subject. This course concentrates on the relationship between the state-centered liberal democracy and processes of globalization. The approach is problem-focused: we will be identifying and exploring the focal points of change that the globalization brings to our ‘standard’ understanding of democracy and statehood. We will ask what has happened with the normative foundations, legal order, institutional set up, political and social processes, and actors of modern democracies in this new constellation.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course students will acquire an understanding of the key concepts, institututions, and practices that shape both crisis and transformations of democracy in the globalized world.


Each topic will be covered by a lecture and a seminar. Each week, one student will be asked to prepare a short presentation for each seminar class, as the basis for a more concentrated discussion. Each class participant will contribute to the seminar preparation by sending 2-3 questions. Each class participant should write an approx. 15-20 pages long (Times New Roman 12, double-spaced) final essay.