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#2 The Democratic Regression

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What are the causes of the crisis of democracy? How can political practice be shaped, and how can democracy be changed in real terms and renewed to counteract its retreat tendencies? Michael Zürn and political sociologist Claus Offe discuss these dynamics based on the findings of "The Democratic Regression", the recently published book by Armin Schäfer and Michael Zürn (Die demokratische Regression, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2021). Growing economic inequality in the course of globalization and processes of cultural and social liberalization dominate current debates as explanations for the rise of national-authoritarian parties and the worldwide crisis of democracy. But these explanations are surprisingly apolitical. The fact that authoritarian populist parties are gaining strength in many places is rather the consequence of a double alienation, argue Schäfer and Zürn – an alienation of political processes from their democratic ideal and of the population from democratic institutions.

Claus Offe, Professor Emeritus of Political Sociology at the Hertie School, has held chairs for Political Science and Political Sociology at the Universities of Bielefeld, Bremen and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Michael Zürn, Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script" (SCRIPTS), Professor of International Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin, and Director of the Research Unit “Global Governance” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Moderation: Yara Hoffmann, freelance journalist, Berlin

In cooperation with Suhrkamp Verlag and silent green
Language: German