Comparative Democracy



Research Questions | Goals
: How is democracy organized? How does democracy differ from autocracy? What are the social and economic requirements of democracy? What is the future of democracy? In this research area, the main interest centres on the principles, structures and lines of development of democratic governance. Concrete research interests focus on the systematic analysis of the different forms of democracy, also in comparison with autocratic forms of rule, on the institutional transformation of democracy as a result of democratic innovations and reform policies, on structures and processes of political representation, on the recruitment, careers and attitudes of the political elite in democracy, on the interrelationship of religion and democracy, on the development of the electorate's behaviour and political attitudes as well as on the impact of changing media technologies on democracy.

Method: The underlying theoretical approach in this research field is decidedly empirical and analytical and characterized by a marked interest in questions related to qualitative and quantitative methods.

Participating Professors

Jens Borchert, Brigitte Geißel, Heike Holbig, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Claudius Wagemann, Thomas Zittel

Projects (Selection)

German Longitudinal Election Study

Principal Investigator: Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, Ph.D.
Funding: DFG


The Nature of Political Representation in Times of Dealigment (NAPRE)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Thomas Zittel (in cooperation with Prof. Rosie Campbell, King's College London und Prof. Tom Louwerse, Leiden University)
Funding: DFG, ESRC, NWO; within the 5th Open Research Area program (ORA)


(New) Political Representative Claims: A Global View (France, Germany, Brazil, India, China)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Geißel (in cooperation with Prof. Yves Sintomer, Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer, Prof. Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal)
Funding: DFG

Protecting the Weak. Entangled Processes of Framing Mobilization and Institutionalization in East Asia.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig
Funding: Volkswagenstiftung


Inequality and Direct Democracy in Europe

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Geißel
Funding: DFG


„When bad men combine, the good must associate…“? Eine ideengeschichtliche Studie zur Wahrnehmung politischer Parteien in Großbritannien und Deutschland im langen 19. Jahrhundert

Principal Investigator: Dr. Philipp Erbentraut
Funding: DFG