Anxieties of Democracy

"Democracy" [cropped], by Sara Semelka

How can representative democracies be strengthened to govern more effectively? The SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program is motivated by a concern about whether the core institutions of established democracies that connect citizens and civil society to the political system—elections, mass media, political parties, interest groups, social movements, and, especially, legislatures—can capably address large problems in the public interest. Though emphasis will be placed on anxieties of democracy in the United States, the program will also work comparatively and conceptually across the globe.

The Anxieties of Democracy program is a major new initiative for the Council, developed through a set of convenings that have gathered leading thinkers from a range of fields and areas of expertise. The program intends to mobilize existing research; promote new studies; publish and disseminate findings; forge pathways to bring this knowledge to policy, media, and public audiences; and provide opportunities for new generations of social scientists to address how to make democracies govern more effectively.

With core support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the program is overseen by a research planning committee and key staff who frame its agendas, organize seminars and conferences, generate publications, and connect with relevant audiences.

Image credit: "Democracy" [cropped], by Sara Semelka / CC BY 2.0.