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

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…

S04E03: Immi­nent Sce­nar­ios in Ukraine

1. April 202235:23 min listen

This episode explores Putin’s threat to democ­ra­cy in Europe and the Ukraine’s con­flict with Rus­sia since the 2014 annex­a­tion of Crimea. Sla­womir Sier­akows­ki dis­cuss­es soft author­i­tar­i­an­ism, the strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance of sanc­tions, and fur­ther artic­u­lates what the war could mean for refugees and ener­gy in Europe. Guests fea­tured in this episode:…

S04E02: Geopol­i­tics of the War in Ukraine

18. March 202235:24 min listen

This episode explores the geopo­lit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and social impli­ca­tions of the cur­rent war in Ukraine. The in-depth his­tor­i­cal analy­sis, both of the cur­rent Russ­ian inva­sion in Ukraine, and the larg­er glob­al con­text out­lines how the war can be under­stood as a world war, which involves the rethink­ing and remak­ing of…

S4E01: The Geneal­o­gy of Illiberalism

7. March 202239:41 min listen

This episode explores the com­plex and con­tra­dic­to­ry rela­tion­ship between lib­er­al­ism and illib­er­al­ism in a his­tor­i­cal frame­work. It speaks to sev­er­al key ques­tions about the emer­gence of illib­er­al prac­tices today: What is the nature of the illib­er­al chal­lenge to an under­stand­ing of lib­er­al­ism as indi­vid­ual free­dom? Is there a nat­ur­al affinity…

S3E10:Free­dom of Expres­sion in an Unequal World

10. Feb­ru­ary 202232:43 min listen

This episode explores chal­lenges gen­er­at­ed by the dig­i­tal age and their impact on free­dom of expres­sion in an unequal world. What threats does dis­in­for­ma­tion pose to democ­ra­cy? Why are minori­ties unable to exer­cise their right to free expres­sion equal­ly in the dig­i­tal space? And how can big data and tech…

S3E9: Gov­er­nance in Illib­er­al Democracies 

10. Feb­ru­ary 202234:42 min listen

This episode explores the polit­i­cal phe­nom­e­na relat­ed to gov­er­nance in illib­er­al democ­ra­cies. What rela­tion­ships do such regimes have to the rule of law and the con­sti­tu­tion? How does legal cheat­ing play a role in the gov­er­nance style? And how can democ­ra­cy be restored after an illib­er­al inter­lude? Guests fea­tured in…

S3E8: Hold­ing Pow­er Account­able with Inves­tiga­tive Journalism

21. Jan­u­ary 202232:48 min listen

This episode explores what the Pan­do­ra Papers reveal about wealth and the gov­er­nance of a glob­al finan­cial sys­tem. What are the com­mon strate­gies adopt­ed by wealthy com­pa­nies, indi­vid­u­als, and orga­ni­za­tions to evade tax account­abil­i­ty? How have democ­ra­cies across the world respond­ed to the rev­e­la­tions of the Pan­do­ra Papers? And what…

S3E7: Pop­ulism and democ­ra­cy’s crit­i­cal infrastructure

13. Decem­ber 202135:00 min listen

This episode explores the con­cept of pop­ulism and fun­da­men­tal struc­tures that give legit­i­ma­cy and effi­ca­cy to demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics. Is pop­ulism the direct result of a cri­sis of rep­re­sen­ta­tion? How can we strength­en rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cy against the threat of soft author­i­tar­i­an pol­i­tics? And what has hap­pened to inter­me­di­ary insti­tu­tions of democratic…

S3E6: The Right to Belong

29. Novem­ber 202130:54 min listen

This episode explores ques­tions of cit­i­zen­ship, dis­place­ment, state­less­ness, and the ways in which they are relat­ed to aspects of race and gen­der. The dis­cus­sion includes an exam­i­na­tion of the right to belong to a state and the right of peo­ple to move across bor­ders in search of secu­ri­ty and stability…

S3E5: The Role of Radio in Tran­sis­tions to Democracy 

10. Novem­ber 202131:10 min listen

This episode of Democ­ra­cy in Ques­tion, host­ed by Cen­tral Euro­pean Uni­ver­si­ty (CEU) Pres­i­dent and Rec­tor, Shali­ni Ran­de­ria, fea­tures guests Car­o­line Vuillemin, direc­tor of the Swiss non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion Fon­da­tion Hiron­delle, and Said Nazir, man­ag­ing edi­tor and co-founder of Trib­al News Net­work. It explores the role of local­ly embed­ded news and media orga­ni­za­tions in facil­i­tat­ing citizen…

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…