Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Established in March 2017 with the generous support of the Gnosis Foundation (Liechtenstein) the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy explores the plurality of democratic experiences and aspirations in an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective.

It seeks to understand what ails democracies worldwide, the growing disenchantment of citizens with democratic political power, and shifts from liberal to illiberal democracy that increasingly blur the divide between the two.

It develops projects that bridge theoretical and empirical research, academic and policy work.

Its activities include

  • Research on the everyday practices of democratic politics, citizens’ aspirations and dissatisfactions with liberal values, institutions and elites. Building on the seminal insights of Albert O. Hirschman, research at the Centre explores changing forms of civic engagement  that produce new configurations of "voice" and "exit”.
  • A series of public lectures and conferences organised and supported by the Centre
  • An annual conference, “Disenchanted Democracies”, in cooperation with the Institute of Human Sciences, IWM, Vienna


The Centre promotes collaborative activities with academic institutions, international organisations as well as with partners in Geneva, in Switzerland and worldwide. It publishes and disseminates research for an academic readership, policy audiences, the media and the general public.