Fea­tur­ing some of the most impor­tant voic­es from con­tem­po­rary acad­e­mia, the pod­cast series “Democ­ra­cy in Ques­tion?” dis­cuss­es var­i­ous demo­c­ra­t­ic expe­ri­ences and exper­i­ments, cur­rent crises as well as long-term chal­lenges to democ­ra­cy such as issues of legit­i­ma­cy, dis­en­fran­chise­ment, or inequality.

“Democ­ra­cy in Ques­tion?” host­ed by Shali­ni Ran­de­ria is a joint pro­duc­tion of the Grad­u­ate Institute’s Albert Hirschman Cen­tre on Democ­ra­cy, the Insti­tute for Human Sci­ences (IWM) Vien­na, and the Research Group Soft Author­i­tar­i­anisms, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men. It is pro­duced in coop­er­a­tion with Richard Miron and Anouk Milet (Earshot strategies).

Sound of Democ­ra­cy” is our new pod­cast project, planned for 2021. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Insti­tute for Human Sci­ences (IWM) Vien­na and artist Mukul Patel , we’re ask­ing how democ­ra­cy sounds today in dif­fer­ent parts of the world, how we talk about democ­ra­cy and which metaphors we use doing so. Sound of Democ­ra­cy is part research project part fusion of artis­tic sound­scapes and schol­ar­ly reflection.

Democ­ra­cy in Question?

Most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion lives in a for­mal democ­ra­cy today. But in both estab­lished and new democ­ra­cies, trust in par­lia­ments and polit­i­cal par­ties is plum­met­ing. World­wide, they are being torn apart by inequal­i­ties, polit­i­cal polar­iza­tion and a pol­i­tics of hate. Cit­i­zens are using the streets and the courts to chal­lenge author­i­ty and to seek the account­abil­i­ty that is often miss­ing at the bal­lot box­es. The form, con­tent, insti­tu­tions, prac­tices and, ulti­mate­ly, the very prin­ci­ples of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy are being called into ques­tion from India to Hun­gary and from Brazil to the US.

Host­ed by Shali­ni Ran­de­ria, Rec­tor of the IWM, Direc­tor of the Cen­tre at the Grad­u­ate Insti­tute, and Excel­lence Chair, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men (Research Group: Soft Author­i­tar­i­an­ism). It fea­tures some of the most impor­tant voic­es in con­tem­po­rary acad­e­mia. Togeth­er they reflect on demo­c­ra­t­ic expe­ri­ences and exper­i­ments the world over and explore whether this cri­sis of democ­ra­cy rep­re­sents a his­tor­i­cal­ly unique chal­lenge or whether par­al­lels to polit­i­cal crises in the past can be discerned.

While each episode address­es issues con­cern­ing the con­tem­po­rary chal­lenges to democ­ra­cy in dif­fer­ent con­texts, the series is also com­mit­ted to explor­ing themes in the longue durée of democ­ra­cy that have occu­pied social sci­en­tists for decades.

Join Shali­ni Ran­de­ria and lead­ing schol­ars for an explo­ration of the dilem­mas fac­ing democ­ra­cies world­wide. Sub­scribe now, wher­ev­er you get your podcasts!

All Episodes: Democ­ra­cy in Question

S05E08: Charles Tay­lor on Degen­er­a­tions and Regen­er­a­tions of Democracy

24. Novem­ber 202230:15 min listen

Why is democ­ra­cy prone to degen­er­a­tion, and how does this affect our con­ven­tion­al notions of democ­ra­cy itself? Do we usu­al­ly depend too much on a thin for­mal insti­tu­tion­al con­cep­tion of democ­ra­cy focused on elec­toral rou­tines, and thus, neglect broad­er ques­tions of class, cul­ture, equal­i­ty, and sol­i­dar­i­ty? How can we reimagine…

S05E07: Craig Cal­houn on the Cur­rent Cri­sis of Amer­i­can and Glob­al Democ­ra­cy and Poten­tial Remedies

10. Novem­ber 202236:56 min listen

U.S. Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy is exhibit­ing symp­toms of decline or even of degen­er­a­tion giv­en the con­tin­u­ing denial of the results of the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion by many in the Repub­li­can Par­ty and par­ti­san efforts to cur­tail vot­ing rights in the Unit­ed States. How alarmed should one be about leg­isla­tive cap­ture and…

S05E06: Leonard Berna­do on Civ­il Soci­ety and the Pol­i­tics and Prac­tices of Civ­il Soci­ety Organizations

2. Novem­ber 202236:11 min listen

In this episode Shali­ni and her guest dis­cuss the chang­ing valances of civ­il soci­ety over the last few decades. How can we assess today the geo­graph­i­cal­ly and his­tor­i­cal­ly spe­cif­ic under­stand­ing of civ­il soci­ety as a sphere out­side of, and opposed to the realm of pol­i­tics and state insti­tu­tions and the…

S05E05: Nadia Urbinati on the Resur­gence of Pop­ulism, its His­to­ry, and its Var­i­ous Forms

12. Octo­ber 202239:04 min listen

Since pop­ulism became wide­spread in parts of Latin Amer­i­ca, was it mis­tak­en­ly seen as for­eign to Euro-Amer­i­­can lib­er­al democ­ra­cy, and has it in recent decades become more wide­spread than par­lia­men­tary democ­ra­cy or lib­er­al con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism? Is the poten­tial for pop­ulism inher­ent in democ­ra­cy itself, espe­cial­ly when con­ceived in terms of a…

S05E04: Myko­la Gna­tovskyy on the estab­lish­ment of a Spe­cial Tri­bunal to Inves­ti­gate the Crimes of Aggres­sion against Ukraine

30. Sep­tem­ber 202237:57 min listen

How and why did the idea of call­ing for the estab­lish­ment of a spe­cial tri­bunal to inves­ti­gate the crimes of aggres­sion against Ukraine come up in the first place? Why was it nec­es­sary to call for the estab­lish­ment of a new Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court when there is one already in…

S05E03: Neloufer de Mel on the Cur­rent Eco­nom­ic, Social and Polit­i­cal Sit­u­a­tion in Sri Lanka

15. Sep­tem­ber 202234:57 min listen

The caus­es of the cur­rent soci­etal, eco­nom­ic, and polit­i­cal cri­sis in Sri Lan­ka are com­plex. The imme­di­ate roots of the cri­sis are the local and glob­al eco­nom­ic fac­tors, fuelled by the pop­u­lar protests against the cor­rup­tion of the gov­ern­ing polit­i­cal elites. What does the ongo­ing cri­sis have to do with…

S05E02: The Fragili­ty of US Democ­ra­cy and the Gen­uine Threat of Fas­cism it Faces

1. Sep­tem­ber 202233:39 min listen

The U.S. is in the midst of an ongo­ing coup, there is a real threat of fas­cist ten­den­cies in the U.S. and else­where; these influ­ence the pos­si­ble out­comes of the upcom­ing 2022 mid-term elec­tions as well as the 2024 U.S pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. What are the poten­tial­ly dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of legal…

S5E01: Mary Kaldor on NATO, Human Secu­ri­ty, the Chang­ing Face of Glob­al War and the Effec­tive­ness of Sanc­tions and Debt Cancellation

24. August 202239:54 min listen

A new world order is in place where accord­ing to Kaldor, per­pet­u­al vio­lence has become the norm. How come these so-called new wars, or “for­ev­er wars” as Kaldor refers to them, are not tied to con­test over nation­al ter­ri­to­ry? Fur­ther­more, does NATO still adhere to Cold War pat­terns of thinking…

S04E10: Thoughts on the Past, Pres­ence and Future of Diverse Democracies

6. July 202247:28 min listen

What are the main threats to diverse soci­eties and why is the time­ly recog­ni­tion of these threats more impor­tant in lib­er­al democ­ra­cies? Can we or should we over­come the frame­work of method­olog­i­cal nation­al­ism when we talk about the future of diverse democ­ra­cies? Is the nation-state still the opti­mal scale for…

S04E09: Cur­rent State of Affairs in Putin’s Russia

27. June 202238:09 min listen

This episode presents a descrip­tion of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Putin’s total­i­tar­i­an Rus­sia and ana­lyzes whether there is hope for change com­ing from with­in the coun­try itself. It is a vivid pic­ture of how author­i­tar­i­an regimes shape what cit­i­zens see, believe, and think and how this leads to a profound…

S04E08: Fal­ter­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tems and the need to recon­struct democracy

8. June 202237:45 min listen

Episode Sum­ma­ry Why is democ­ra­cy fal­ter­ing around the world even in coun­tries where it was pre­vi­ous­ly well estab­lished? Why an unelect­ed, non-demo­c­ra­t­ic body like the House of Lords has joined the debate on democ­ra­cy and is sound­ing off alarms? Can crises like Brex­it or the war in Ukraine encour­age the…

S04E07: The French Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion and the State of Democ­ra­cy in France

25. May 202242:47 min listen

In this episode the focus is on the lat­est pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in France and the state of its democ­ra­cy. What were the sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences between this elec­tion and the pre­vi­ous one? Is there a new wave of anti-intel­lec­­tu­al sen­ti­ment spread­ing across the coun­try? It also delves upon how cur­rent political…

S04E06: Per­spec­tives on Putin and Rus­si­a’s Inva­sion of Ukraine

17. May 202233:09 min listen

This episode dis­cuss­es how Vladimir Putin’s world­view was shaped and explores his pos­si­ble motives for invad­ing Ukraine. Also exam­ined is the glob­al response to the inva­sion, which has not been uni­form around the world, as well as how the inva­sion has brought about clos­er uni­ty between the Unit­ed States and…

S04E05: Assess­ing the 2022 Hun­gar­i­an Par­lia­ment Elections

28. April 202228:58 min listen

This episode pro­vides insight into why Hungary’s Vik­tor Orban was reelect­ed to a con­sec­u­tive fourth term with anoth­er par­lia­men­tary super­ma­jor­i­ty. Dis­cussed is the role of the unlev­el play­ing field in the lead­up to the elec­tions in terms of elec­toral laws and media dom­i­na­tion, as well as how the war in…

S04E04: Myan­mar’s Strug­gle for Democratization

19. April 202231:38 min listen

This episode focus­es on Myanmar’s slow jour­ney towards democ­ra­ti­za­tion, which appeared to have been halt­ed by the mil­i­tary coup in 2021. What is also dis­cussed is the lega­cy of British colo­nial rule in which cer­tain eth­nic groups were favored over oth­ers, and the progress of inter­na­tion­al actions against the Myanmar…

Sound of Democracy

Pro­gramme: Sound of democracy

Enter­ing into Con­ver­sa­tion about the Sound of Democracy

1. Feb­ru­ary 2021

The fol­low­ing text describes a project com­ple­ment­ing the Sound of Democ­ra­cy pod­cast, that will be car­ried out by Prof. Dr. Ingo H. Warnke and two of his doc­tor­al stu­dents, name­ly Chris­t­ian Bär and Hagen Stein­hauer. Inter­views on How Democ­ra­cy Sounds What does democ­ra­cy sound like today? How is its sound…

Sound of Democ­ra­cy. Blog, Pod­cast and Inter­view Project

1. Feb­ru­ary 2021

This blog post is a con­tri­bu­tion by a team of lin­guists at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men, name­ly Prof. Dr. Ingo H. Warnke and two of his doc­tor­al stu­dents, Chris­t­ian Bär as well as Hagen Stein­hauer, who is also a mem­ber of the Research Group on Soft Author­i­tar­i­an­ism, which is directed…

Sound of Democ­ra­cy. Sound as a Metaphor

1. Feb­ru­ary 2021

The fol­low­ing text dia­logues with the pod­cast from the per­spec­tive of lin­guis­tics as a dis­ci­pline and was writ­ten by Prof. Dr. Ingo H. Warnke togeth­er with two of his doc­tor­al stu­dents, name­ly Chris­t­ian Bär and Hagen Stein­hauer. The word sound can refer to a wide range of phe­nom­e­na. With­in the…