4. - 5. Dezember 2019

Democracy and Civil Society in Europe

Dahrendorf Conference 2019


Please note that registration for the conference has closed.

A livestream of the full event will be made available here.

Today, Ralf Dahrendorf’s critical observations are needed more than ever. His thoughts and analyses concerning the development of the European Union and the role of the nation state continue to be relevant. His studies on democracy in Western and Eastern Europe are of special importance at a time when democracy is faced with rising challenges. Likewise, his speeches, writings, and warnings on the relevance of the civil society and current forms of inequality in educational and life opportunities allow for in-depth reflections on social trends. Occasioned by the tenth anniversary of Ralf Dahrendorf’s death, the Dahrendorf Conference aims to honour his legacy but also to facilitate critical discussions about the problems of our age. Organised by institutions at which he worked, the Conference will provide a space for coming together and negotiating present-day challenges in society—an effort that Ralf Dahrendorf surely would have endorsed. Selected experts from academia and politics will explore the following questions:

  • What is the relevance of Ralf Dahrendorf’s work for the social and political sciences?
  • Which of his contributions have stood the test of time and continue to be relevant today?
  • Is democracy indeed in crisis?
  • Is European integration in crisis?
  • Does Eastern Europe illiberalize?
  • Can civil society save democracy?
  • Has education become a liberal-democratic right?

In five panels on key issues, participants will revisit Ralf Dahrendorf’s work with these questions in mind.


We regret that the number of participants at this conference is limited. Confirmations can therefore only be sent at short notice.


Child care
The WZB provides child care during the conference. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to Friederike Theilen Kosch: friederike.theilen-kosch [at] wzb.eu by November 20, 2019.

WZB is barrier-free
Our event location is wheelchair-accessible. If you need support, please e-mail: veranstaltungen [at] wzb.eu