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Symposium: Democracy in Crisis?

04-06-2018 at 20:00 - 22:00

Symposium: Democracy in Crisis? Europe, the Netherlands and Italy

On 4 June, we will organise a symposium about the state and future of democracy. Does the rise of anti-establishment movements throughout Europe and America show that our democratic system is fragile and in risk of dissolution? Or is democracy still alive and kicking? Next to discussing these general questions, we will shed light on an topical example: Italy! What does the current political crisis there tell us about the state of democracy in Europe? For this, we will welcome three esteemed guests.

Jacques Thomassen Emeritus Professor of Political Science (University of Twente)
Is a crisis of democracy actually something remarkable? According to Thomassen, it is not: his theory of ‘the permanent crisis of democracy’ holds that the idea of an alleged failing of democracy is an ever-returning feature of representative democratic systems. Thomassen, who is officially retired but still active in the field of democratic theory and electoral research, will explain why he thinks that is the case.

Kees AartsProfessor of Political Institutions and Behaviour & Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (University of Groningen)
What makes that citizens are satisfied with democracy or not? That question will be answered by Aarts, whose research focusses on democracy and electoral behaviour (in the Netherlands as well as in an international perspective) and whose many functions include chair of the Dutch Political Science Association and board member of the Wiardi Beckman Stichting (the Dutch scientific bureau for social democracy). Next to that, he will discuss some ideas for radical democratic innovation.

Pier Domenico Tortola Assistant Professor of European Languages and Cultures (University of Groningen)
Italy seems to be in perpetual political crisis. So how vital is democracy still in this country which has had 65 governments since 1946? What does the recent formation of a ‘populist’ government tell us? And in how far is Italy representative for the rest of the EU? Tortola, who teaches Italian politics and contemporary European history, will analyse the current political situation in Italy. 

This event will take place in the Senate Chamber (Academy Building, Broerstraat 5). It is free and open to everyone.


20:00 - 22:00


Senate Chamber
Broerstraat 5
Groningen, Groningen
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