Democracy and Civil Society


Here are the research projects dealing with issues of Democracy and Civil Society. You will also find the list of recent publications related to this cluster.

Bringing the Seed Wars to the Courtroom: Legal Activism and the Governance of Plant Genetic Resources in Brazil and India

Professor Shalini Randeria, funded by SNSF. October 2015–September 2018.
This project proposes a critical ethnography of legal activism around plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in Brazil and India, two mega-diverse countries with large agricultural sectors and vibrant civil societies. In recent years, conflicts over genetic resources in Brazil and India have increasingly taken the form of class action and public interest litigation.
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Coop Entanglements and Connections: Towards a Global History of the Cooperative Movement, 1890-1970

Professor Gareth Austin, funded by SNSF. June 2015–May 2018.
The aim of this project is to examine the global circulation of ideas and knowledge concerned with the establishment and running of cooperative bodies.
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Garrison State Project

Professor David Sylvan, funded by SNSF. August 2015–July 2019. 
In democracies, why are debates among political elites far more consensual on national security issues than on other subjects? What is the significance of the fact that, precisely in democracies, state bureaucracies concerned with security issues have continued to grow in size and in scope? And what are the potential risks of these phenomena for democracy itself? Such are some of the questions addressed in this research project.
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The Myth of Homogeneity: Minority Protection and Assimilation in Western Europe, 1919–1939

Professor Davide Rodogno and Dr Emmanuel Dalle Mulle, with PhD candidate Mona Bieling, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2020.
This project aims at inquiring the relationship between national minorities and majorities in Western Europe during the interwar years in a comparative international and transnational perspective.
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Rethinking Stakeholder Participation in International Governance

Professor Joost Pauwelyn, funded by SNIS. Start: 2014.
Given the rigidity of formal treaties and formal international organisations (IOs), countries and other stakeholders are increasingly resorting to case-by-case networks, expert-driven bodies or club-like arrangements. However, these arrangements may not sufficiently take account of external stakeholders. This project maps the different responses to legitimacy challenges raised by external stakeholders in a series of selected formal and informal governance arrangements, focusing on health and finance and result in set of best practices and guidelines.
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Transparency: Qualities and Technologies of Global Gemstone Trading

Assistant Professor Filipe Calvão, with Lindsay Bell (State University of New York, Oswego) and Brian Brazeal (California State University, Chico), funded by SNSF and hosted at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding in collaboration with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. September 2017–August 2020.
This project aims to interrogate the construction and public perception of transparency by examining the recent efforts of the extractive industry toward transparency and the growing demand for “ethical” gemstones. 
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