The Centre’s ongoing projects focus on citizens' quest for social justice through democratic participation in a variety of institutional and social contexts, spanning the state, global governance and local authority.

They explore experiences with democratic institutions and practices in everyday life as well as under conditions of political turmoil in various societies.

Voice and participation in policy processes

Democratic participation extends beyond the ballot box to policy processes through which people govern their daily lives. This theme asks: through what avenues can people express their voice and participate in policy processes? How do popular voice and expertise relate to each other in these processes? What is the form and quality of that voice?

  • Democratising access to healthcare: Infertility, childlessness, and treatment seeking in resource-poor settings in Nepal and India - More info
  • Mapping spaces of local democracy in India: Practices of participation in the 2014-2034 Mumbai Development Plan - More info
  • Learning from Failure?: Democratic Deficits and the Politics of Contemporary Global Expertise - More info
  • Ethical regulation of the social sciences under illiberal regimes: protecting subjects or stifling voice? - More info

Disorder and democratic voices

Democratic voice requires the existence of venues that are sufficiently ordered for expression to be heard. This theme explores how certain forms of inclusion—often understood to be foundational to liberalism—can be manipulated to serve illiberal ends, stifling democratic voice through the creation of confusion, uncertainty, and unpredictability about whose voice, if any, will be heard at any given time.

  • Governance through Disorder: Illiberalism and the politics of unpredictability - More info
  • Democracy and disorder: political unpredictability, illiberal governance and prospects for democratic voice - More info

Law, courts and democracy

Laws and courts are guarantors of rights essential to a democracy. They can also be profoundly anti-democratic. This theme asks: how are the political uses of laws and courts changing today, and how are they transforming democratic experiences?

  • Bringing the seed wars to the courtroom: Legal activism and the governance of plant genetic resources in Brazil and India - More info

Transparency, accountability and regulation

How might citizens participate in their own governance in an administrative state? Beyond expressions of democratic voice as found in practices like voting and protesting, citizens in democratic societies increasingly exercise their sovereignty using mechanisms of surveillance of the state and grievance redress. Transparency and accountability of regulatory regimes are cornerstones of contemporary democratic politics. This theme explores how transparency and accountability are produced, protected, and—in some cases—manipulated in global, national, and sub-national contexts.

  • Negotiating data in a global setting: opportunities, challenges and the common good - More info
  • The subnational politics of company-community relationships in the extractives sector - More info
  • Transparency: Qualities and Technologies of Global Gemstone Trading (in collaboration with the Graduate Institute Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding) - More info

Past projects

  • European Election Day Lab - More info
  • Understanding radicalism: religious identity and politics of power within and across South Asian borders - More info
  • Culture conflict - Research network - More info