Democracy and Civil Society

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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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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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Red Revolution: The Emergence of Stem Cell Biotechnologies in India

Professor Aditya Bharadwaj, funded by ERC 2012. February 2013–January 2018.
This project analyses the interplay between state, citizens/consumers and emerging markets in human stem cell technologies in India. Such developments pose profound bioethical and political questions. The research examines the emerging research/therapy interface with a view to explicating the high risk and high gain production of stem cell biotechnologies in India. It will produce an in-depth multi-sited ethnographic mapping of the stem cell terrain in India. Its main objective is to critically understand the agential and structural processes authoring unprecedented new developments in stem cell research and therapeutics in India.
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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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