Image Credit: “Flags,” by honglouwawa, licensed under CC BY 2.0


The Anxieties of Democracy program supports related initiatives around the globe, promoting the understanding of democratic anxieties in comparative contexts. As part of these efforts, we organize and support joint conferences that encourage scholarly research and reflections. Scholars have also written pieces for the Democracy Papers based on the research presented at these conferences.

Democratic Anxieties

We are honored to collaborate with Democratic Anxieties, a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The program encourages collaboration between scholars of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic, and comprises a series of conferences and workshops held in Germany and Italy.

The program has held conferences on democratic anger and anxiety (2016 in Potsdam, Germany), political participation (2017 in Villa Vigoni, Italy), political polarization (2017 in Berlin, Germany), and political equality (2018 in Villa Vigoni, Italy)., and political responsiveness (2019 in Bamberg, Germany). In addition, a workshop for early-career researchers was held in Mainz, Germany in 2017.

The Democratic Anxieties project’s principal investigators are:

Claudia Landwehr, Professor of Politics and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Thomas Saalfeld, Professor of Political Science, University of Bamberg

Armin Schäfer, Professor of Political Science, University of Münster

Team Populism

In collaboration with Team Populism, we are proud to co-sponsor Consequences and Mitigation: The Ideational Approach to Populism, a June 2019 conference in Segovia (Spain) on the consequences of populism for countries, systems, and individual citizens, as well as the ways in which these consequences are mitigated.

Team Populism is a group of scholars based at Brigham Young University that brings together renowned scholars from Europe and the Americas to study the causes and consequences of populism. The initiative seeks to answer why some populist parties, leaders, or movements are more successful than others.

Anxieties of Democracy (Europe)

Our European namesake program, Anxieties of Democracy, had its home at the Swedish Institute for Futures Studies, and was funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. The program comprised four thematic conferences held over the course of two years in Europe and North America.

The first conference addressed issues of democratic performance and was held at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University (United Kingdom) in 2017. The second conference, on the political representation of future generations, was held at the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2017. The third conference, on the future of political parties, was held at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin (Germany). The final conference of the series, on “the will of the people”, was held in New York City (United States) in 2017.

The four co-principal investigators for this program were:

Gustaf Arrhenius, Director of the Institute for Futures Studies and Professor of Practical Philosophy

Bo Rothstein, August Röhss Chair of Political Science, University of Gothenburg

Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University; President Emeritus, Social Science Research Council

Claus Offe, Professor Emeritus of Political Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance

Democracy at a Crossroads

In collaboration with Claudio Lomnitz, Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City, we proudly co-sponsored Democracy at a Crossroads, a conference on popular legitimacy, drugs and security, inequality, populism, and neoliberalism, among other topics. Held at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City in October 2018, the event saw a convening of Latin American, North American, and European scholars following historic presidential elections in Mexico and Brazil.