Research Team 3: Participation and Representation in the Context of Inequality
Within the geographical research areas of the GIGA – Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East – the claim of equality in political democracy is challenged by societies that are characterized by numerous inequalities, such as a wide prosperity gap and ethnic, religious and gender-related differences. Even though these societies – including but not limited to India, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa – are in many instances marked by a high degree of political and social fragility, among other problems, a relatively stable democratic development can be observed. These countries seem to refute common approaches that assume that democracy and participation are based on a certain degree of societal homogeneity and that strong social inequalities are a permanent threat to democracy.
The endangerment of democracy cannot be reduced to an unsolved “social question”; its analysis needs to comprise additional factors. Hence, the numerous inequalities in the geographical research areas of the GIGA persist in being important prerequisites for participation and democratic representation, as well as for the legitimacy and stability of political institutions because the majority of the geographical areas the GIGA focuses on cannot be perceived as consolidated, but rather as fragile. Newly established and well-established democracies alike are affected not only by degradation, but also by transitions into hybrid and authoritarian regimes.
Therefore, the Research Team plans to look into the following questions by making intra-regional as well as cross-regional comparisons:
- What impact do the myriad inequalities have on civic participation and therefore on both the quality of and the endangerment of democracy?
- Under which conditions does the increase of 1) political participatory rights, 2) civil society’s organisational processes and 3) partisan and social mobilisation encourage democratic development?
- What are the conditions under which an increase in participation encourages clientelism, corporatism and populist regimes with authoritarian traits?
Theoretical and methodological approaches
- Theory of democracy
- Neo-institutionalism, historical institutionalism
- Cross-regional and intra-regional comparisons
- Qualitative and quantitative methods
Current Research Projects:
- ANTICORRP: Anti-Corruption Policies Revisited – Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption (Thomas Richter, Christian von Soest, Detlef Nolte, Sabrina Maaß)
- Political regimes, reduction of poverty and inequality (part of WP 8: States and political systems, NOPOOR) (Gero Erdmann, Jann Lay)
- Causes of Hybrid Regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Comparison (Gero Erdmann, Sebastian Elischer, Alexander Stroh)
- Polity Unbound: Participation and Representation of Emigrants in Their Countries of Origin (Bert Hoffmann in collaboration with the Freie Universität, Berlin)
- Parties and Party Systems in Francophone Africa (Matthias Basedau, Alexander Stroh)
- Persistence and Change of Neopatrimonialism in Various Non-OECD Regions (Christian von Soest, Nina Korte, Karsten Bechle)
- Parties and Party Systems in Southeast Asia: Cleavages, Clientelism and Institutionalisation (Andreas Ufen)
Members of Research Team 3
Buitrago, Miguel A. (ILAS)
Chmielewska, Karolina (IAS, Ph.D. candidate)
Dodlova, Marina (ILAS)
Elischer, Sebastian (IAA)
Erdmann, Gero (IAA)
Gordin, Jorge P. (ILAS)
Hoffmann, Bert (ILAS)
Korte, Nina (IAS)
Maaß, Sabrina (GIGA)
Rosales, Maria Isabel (ILAS, Ph.D. candidate)
Soest, Christian v. (IAA)
Stroh, Alexander (IAA, Ph.D. candidate)
Ufen, Andreas (IAS)
Wegner, Eva (IMES)