„Democracy is never finished and never easy.“
If we are to believe some media and politicians, the modern world is a world of democracies. And, indeed, there are few countries where there are no elections at least off and on.
But is it sufficient for a state to hold elections (more or less) regularly to qualify as a democracy? What do we mean when we refer to a political system as “democratic”? And, is democracy something laudable in itself? If so: What are the conditions favourable to the development of democratic institutions? How do democratic institutions work and under what conditions do they work well and prove robust in the face of internal and external shocks? How do citizens’ actions and attitudes contribute to the (in-)stability of democratic systems? There are many types of democracies: what are the effects of these differences on their performance? And, is it true that democracies are, in general, more peaceful than autocracies? If so: is it possible to export democratic institutions and political cultures to each and every country?
These are the type of questions we are confronted with on a daily basis. In our M.A. program "Empirical Democracy Studies” you will develop well-founded answers to these problems on the basis of state-of-the-art research findings.