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How do soft author­i­tar­i­an prac­tices hol­low out lib­er­al demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and val­ues? How is „auto­crat­ic legal­ism“ (Kim Lane Schep­pele) put in place by var­i­ous gov­ern­ments? How and why are aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and free­dom of press under attack? Can we entrust big tech cor­po­ra­tions to guard against hate speech and incite­ments to vio­lence? Which rhetoric and dis­cours­es are employed to under­mine demo­c­ra­t­ic processes?

This blog maps and analy­ses var­i­ous facets of what we define as “soft author­i­tar­i­an­ism” in today’s world. Curat­ed by the Research Group Soft Author­i­tar­i­anisms, it con­tributes to the debate on grow­ing author­i­tar­i­an ten­den­cies around the world.

Offer­ing a cross-dis­ci­pli­nary dia­logue, it address­es var­i­ous forms of chal­lenges to lib­er­al democ­ra­cy and of active cit­i­zen engage­ment to pro­tect and deep­en demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions in the face of the cur­rent backlash.

Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance

Shali­ni Ran­de­ria, Deval Desai and Chris­tine Lutringer9. Decem­ber 202010 min read

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten for Glob­al Chal­lenges and pub­lished in the jour­nal Spe­cial Issue 1 “Pol­i­tics of the Coro­n­avirus Pan­dem­ic” (June 2020). Around the world, unspent pub­lic funds are being repur­posed on a very large scale in response to…

Defending Press Freedom in the Time of Coronavirus

Shali­ni Ran­de­ria30. April 20205 min read

The coro­n­avirus cri­sis has pro­vid­ed a wel­come pre­text for soft author­i­tar­i­an regimes the world over to strength­en their hold on pow­er, with their declared states of excep­tion poten­tial­ly becom­ing the new nor­mal. Curb­ing press free­dom was among illib­er­al rule’s casualties…