Soft Author­i­tar­i­an­ism, a con­cept that appears con­tra­dic­to­ry, aims to cap­ture the cur­rent fuzzi­ness of democ­ra­cies slid­ing into author­i­tar­i­an rule the world over. For­mal elec­tions bol­ster the pow­er of strong­men, majori­tar­i­an democ­ra­cies under­mine the rights of minori­ties, the rule of law is hol­lowed out using the con­sti­tu­tion, and dis­cours­es of free­dom of expres­sion are deployed to dis­man­tle fun­da­men­tal human rights.

Our Research Group stud­ies in com­par­a­tive per­spec­tive the flu­id and flex­i­ble polit­i­cal, juridi­cal, social and dis­cur­sive con­fig­u­ra­tions which blur the line between demo­c­ra­t­ic and author­i­tar­i­an prac­tices of rule. It exam­ines how soft author­i­tar­i­anisms of var­i­ous vari­eties are estab­lished and con­test­ed in dif­fer­ent con­texts. How are these new forms of rule legit­imized dis­cur­sive­ly, imple­ment­ed insti­tu­tion­al­ly? How are respon­si­bil­i­ties and account­abil­i­ty watered down, pow­er cen­tral­ized and its trans­fer imped­ed? What forms of mobi­liza­tion and action by cit­i­zens attempt to stem the slow and sys­tem­at­ic ero­sion of lib­er­al demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions? In what ways has the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic exac­er­bat­ed author­i­tar­i­an ten­den­cies and are they here to stay?

Our three con­trastive case stud­ies link­ing ethnog­ra­phy with dis­course analy­sis and doc­u­men­tary research focus on Poland, France and Turkey/​the Turk­ish-Euro­pean diaspora.

Brazil between the first and sec­ond rounds of gen­er­al elections

Ricar­do Pagliu­so Regatieri18. Octo­ber 20228 min read

On Octo­ber 2, Brazil­ians went to the bal­lots to vote for pres­i­dent, state gov­er­nors, sen­a­tors, as well as fed­er­al and state rep­re­sen­ta­tives. In the pres­i­den­tial race, the cen­ter-left-wing for­mer president…

The Future Mel­oni Gov­ern­ment and the Long Drift of Ital­ian Democracy

Adri­ano Coz­zoli­no11. Octo­ber 202211 min read

“Rome wasn’t build in a day” – and nei­ther is a rad­i­cal right-wing gov­ern­ment like the one now form­ing in Italy fol­low­ing the elec­tions held in Sep­tem­ber 2022. The result…

Zwis­chen Apathie und Hoffnung

Ulrike Flad­er14. Decem­ber 20218 min read

Zum „san­ften“ Autori­taris­mus in der Türkei. Die strate­gis­che und flex­i­ble Ver­flech­tung von demokratis­chen und nicht-demokratis­chen Prak­tiken ist ein Charak­terzug ‚san­fter‘ For­men autoritär­er Regierung. Ein Ver­ständ­nis von der Pro­duk­tion von Affek­ten wie…

The Weaponiza­tion of Repub­li­can Val­ues in France

Hagen Stein­hauer23. Novem­ber 20218 min read

There is an ongo­ing bat­tle for cul­tur­al hege­mo­ny in France. Far-right ide­olo­gies are being nor­mal­ized, their stig­ma­tiz­ing vocab­u­lary thus not only gains pub­lic accep­tance but also comes to shape the…

Intro­duc­ing Pod­cast Series: Democ­ra­cy in Question

S07E06: Jan­ka Oer­tel on “The End of the Chi­na Illu­sion” (Part 2)

27. Sep­tem­ber 202354:09

This episode explores Chi­na’s thin­ly veiled projects of expand­ing glob­al influ­ence. Does Chi­nese con­trol of crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture and eco­nom­ic sup­ply chains threat­en Europe’s auton­o­my? And how can democ­ra­cies counter the…

S07E05: Nobel Prize Win­ner Joseph Stiglitz on a More Equi­table Future 

13. Sep­tem­ber 202347:55

This episode, record­ed live at the 2023 Alp­bach Forum in Tirol, Aus­tria, explores why eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ties have increased over recent years and how such strat­i­fi­ca­tion is detri­men­tal to democ­ra­cy. What…

S07E04: Jan­ka Oer­tel on “The End of the Chi­na Illu­sion” (Part 1)

30. August 202346:47

This episode explores illu­sions about Chi­na’s ambi­tions relat­ed to expand­ing mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic pow­er. How have such illu­sions been per­pet­u­at­ed by Ger­mans and Euro­peans in order to main­tain prof­it for…

S07E03: Ale­jan­dra Bal­lon Gutier­rez on Body Pol­i­tics in Peru 

26. July 202344:52

This episode explores for­mer Peru­vian Pres­i­dent Alber­to Fuji­mori’s pop­u­la­tion con­trol pro­grams and how eugenic prin­ci­ples have led to the force­ful ster­il­iza­tion of women belong­ing to var­i­ous indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. What role…

Pan­el dis­cus­sion Bor­ders, Diver­si­ty and Cit­i­zen­ship in India 


Time: 18:30

Loca­tion: Mai­son de la paix, audi­to­ri­um A2, Gene­va Grad­u­ate Institute

Pan­el dis­cus­sion with Lipin Ram as part of the “Gene­va Democ­ra­cy Week” (Semaine de la démocratie)

To attend the event (with­out active par­tic­i­pa­tion), please reg­is­ter at:
Find fur­ther infor­ma­tion in this fly­er.