Friday, 1 December 2023

What Is Democratic Resilience and Why Do We Need an Analytical Concept of It?

Part 11 of the Online Event Series "(Un)Solvable Problems?"

Talk by Wolfgang Merkel

Two decades ago, we were still reflecting on the "democratization of democracy". Times have changed. Now we are thinking about the resilience of democracy. Times are changing. The long and global trend of democratization, which accelerated once again after 1990, reached its peak in 2008. Since then, liberal democracies are now in the 15th year of a continuous and significant decline. This is true even for the best constitutional liberal democracies of the Northern hemisphere. An extraordinary simultaneous accumulation of external crises has challenged democracy in the last 15 years: financial and euro crises, migration and refugee crises, climate crisis, pandemic and finally the Russian war against Ukraine and its economic repercussions on Western democracies. How can democracies arm themselves against this, how do they strengthen their resilience? What actually is resilience of democracy? Do we have sufficient theoretically inspired concepts that we can use in empirical studies? The Talk aims to present such an analytical concept of democratic resilience in order to finally answer the action-theoretical question: How can democracies strengthen their resilience in the current decade of crisis?

Wolfgang Merkel is Professor Emeritus at the WZB.


The event is part of the WZB series (Un)Solvable Problems? Social Science Perspectives on the Challenges of our Time, which will take place online on Fridays from 9 to 10 a.m. until 8 December 2023.

You can listen to all events in our blog.