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Department for Comparative Research on Democracies

The Department for Comparative Research on Democracies aims at strengthening the knowledge about multiplicity and contingency of forms of political governance in historical, empirical and theoretical research. It considers democracy to be one of the experiments concerning social forms that represent modern society.


In modern times the expectation of inclusion seems to be indisputable in the sense of a legitimate expectation, that every single person is included in the processes of society’s functional systems. How far the implementation and realization of this expectation will lead to democracy as a form of governance is still an open question, which has been answered in radically different ways, e.g. at the beginning of modernity in the diverging development of England, Switzerland, the United States, and France.


This is why the Department for Comparative Research on Democracies works on “variants of democracy, alternatives to democracy”. The title of its research program is based upon the assumption that democracy represents a globally available expectation. Therefore, it is likely that reciprocal observations of political forms and a global extension of the range of alternatives go hand in hand. The projects of the department rely on theory construction and on empirical comparison. The latter does not only include mainly heterogeneous countries and regions such as Russia, India, China and Latin America but also the changes in Europe in order to make a contribution to understanding the dynamics of the present world.



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