S06E01:Thomas Carothers on Demo­c­ra­t­ic Back­slid­ing in a Com­par­a­tive Perspective

What are the caus­es and con­se­quences of demo­c­ra­t­ic decline world­wide over the course of the last two decades? Has democ­ra­cy in the Unit­ed States recent­ly drift­ed more towards demo­c­ra­t­ic back­slid­ing or did the results of the 2022 midterm elec­tions inspire hope in the reversibil­i­ty of demo­c­ra­t­ic degen­er­a­tion in the US? What effect does this trend have on the sta­bil­i­ty of the inter­na­tion­al order, on the future of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy more large­ly, and not least, on the pro­mo­tion of democ­ra­cy abroad? How do we clas­si­fy dif­fer­ent types of demo­c­ra­t­ic back­slid­ing and are there insti­tu­tion­al and orga­ni­za­tion­al respons­es to these? Why have cul­tur­al issues become the sym­bol­ic bat­tle­ground today for so many oppo­nents of lib­er­al democracy?

Guests fea­tured in this episode:

Thomas Carothers, is the Har­vey V Fein­berg Chair for Democ­ra­cy Stud­ies and Co-direc­tor of the Democ­ra­cy, Con­flict, and Gov­er­nance Pro­gram at the Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tion­al Peace. Trained as a lawyer, he served in the office of the legal advi­sor of the U.S. State Depart­ment before join­ing The Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tion­al Peace. 

He is an expert on democ­ra­cy and inter­na­tion­al sup­port for democ­ra­cy pro­mo­tion abroad for human rights, gov­er­nance, the rule of law, and civ­il soci­ety. Tom has pub­lished sev­er­al crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed books, includ­ing  Fund­ing Virtue: Civ­il Soci­ety and Democ­ra­cy Pro­mo­tion, Pro­mot­ing the Rule of Law Abroad, and most recent­ly Democ­ra­cies Divid­ed: The Glob­al Chal­lenge of Polit­i­cal Polar­iza­tion.

He’s also been a vis­it­ing mem­ber at the CEU, and is a mem­ber of the advi­so­ry board of our Democ­ra­cy Insti­tute in Budapest.


Shalini Randeria

Shalini Randeria is Rector and President of the Central European University (Vienna/Budapest). Before, she was Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute Geneva, and Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna from 2014 to 2021. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalisation, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India also addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities.