Democracy in Crisis – What Role for Political Science?

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Democracy in the 21st century faces several severe challenges. Autocrats and authoritarian populists receive broad public support in many countries. The rule of law is questioned by some governments. Socio-economic inequalities create democratically marginalized groups. Social media offers new channels for political communication, which may also be used to spread disinformation.
What is the role and the potential impact of political science in these times and under different conditions? If democracy is under threat, should scientists engage politically, or is it even more important to keep a professional distance to offer objective theoretical analyses and sound empirical facts? Is a combination of own engagement and professional distance possible?
The roundtable brings together political scientists with diverse personal and professional backgrounds in order to discuss differences and commonalities between countries and over time.

Anil Duman, Central European University
Anna Durnová, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, and Charles University, Prague
Reinhard Heinisch, University of Salzburg
Zoltan Miklosi, Central European University
Anton Pelinka, Central European University

Katrin Auel, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna

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Information on the panelists

Anil Duman
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Central European University
Anil Duman studied Economics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her career brought her to CEU, later to Yasar University, and back to CEU. Her broad research interests include political economy, industrial relations, welfare state policies, and redistribution. In her recent research, she has been specializing on the interrelations between labor market status and socio-economic inequalities. Her previous research focuses on analysis of skill formation, skill distribution, and their relation to individual policy preferences across countries and over time. She is also involved in research projects examining the transformation of social protection regimes in several transition countries.

Anna Durnová
Senior Researcher, Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna & Charles University Prague
Originally from Brno, Anna Durnová studied political science at the University of Vienna and earned her Habilitation at Sciences Po Paris. Before joining the IHS, she has been among others a Visiting Professor at the Masaryk University of Brno, a Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Lyon, and a visiting research fellow at the Universities of Essex and Paris. She is also Faculty Fellow at the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology and Forum Editor of Critical Policy Studies (CPS). In her current research project, she studies the sociopolitical interplays of emotions and knowledge and uses examples from health and science controversies.

Reinhard Heinisch
Professor and Head of Department, Department of Political Science and Sociology, University of Salzburg
Reinhard Heinisch studied political science in Austria and the United States. He later became Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he returned to Austria and joined the University of Salzburg where he chairs the Department of Political Science and Sociology. He is still affiliated with the European Studies Center of the University of Pittsburgh and also serves as Visiting Professor at Renmin University in Beijing. His main research interests are comparative populism, political parties, and democracy.

Zoltan Miklosi
Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Political Science, Central European University
Zoltan Miklosi received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from ELTE University, Budapest. He has been L. S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, and Visiting Faculty at University of Oxford, Department of Politics. He specializes in political and moral philosophy. His research areas concern questions of political obligation, distributive justice, and the basis of equal moral status. His current work focuses on the relational critique of distributive conceptions of justice, basic equality, and the basis of equal political rights.

Anton Pelinka
Prof.em., Department of Political Science, Central European University
Anton Pelinka studied law and political science at the University of Vienna and the IHS. He was professor of political science at CEU and at the University of Innsbruck, visiting professor at Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the University of New Orleans, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His research fields include democratic theory, comparative politics and Austrian politics.