Cornell University

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Conference: Research Frontiers in Democratic Threats and Resilience

Saturday, March 23, 2024 at 9:00am to 12:00pm

Africana Studies and Research Center
310 Triphammer Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

This conference brings together scholars undertaking new research on questions of democratic resistance and sources of resilience in response to global evidence of democratic backsliding.

We will work together to analyze domestic and international factors, including institutions, civil society, political parties, voters, media, and foreign policy. In an era marked by threats to democracy from within nominally democratic institutions, by elected officials, and with varying degrees of support from the voting public, we seek to understand the interactive nature of democratic threats and resistance strategies.

As democracy can be conceived of as a continued contestation over rights, responsibilities, and rules, we aim to use this critical historical moment of contestation to expand our comparative conceptions of democratic practice, strategies of endurance and deepening or weakening of democratic regimes, and the social, economic, technological, and institutional factors that contribute to varied outcomes worldwide.

Hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, the conference is part of Einaudi's work on democratic threats and resilience.

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March 22 Panels

Panel 1: Concepts and Measurement: Democracy 2.0
This panel will push beyond the measurement debates to address conceptual and ontological questions about how to measure democracy, and definitional questions at the heart of democracy’s weaknesses and promise in contemporary practice. Does the practice of a minimal definition of democracy contribute to public disenchantment, and is such practice durable?

Panel 2: Resilience Factors, Resistance Strategies, and Opposition Tactics
This panel will examine the social and economic bases of democratic resiliency, as well as various strategies, actors, and institutions that can fortify and even enhance democratic practice.

Panel 3: Stabilizing Forces? Historical Patterns and Contemporary Challenges
This panel will dissect the factors that have historically stabilized advanced industrial democracies—including party systems, modes of political representation, and patterns of capitalist development-- and their potential applicability to contemporary patterns of democratic backsliding and resistance.

March 23 Panel

Panel 4: International Actors and Regional Organizations
This panel will explore the ways in which authoritarian or democratic leaders and regimes exert influence on the regime types of other countries and the influence of regional organizations on participating countries’ regime trajectories.

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