Sustainable Democracy


What is the focus of the Hot Spot?

The Hot Spot Sustainable Democracy focuses on interdisciplinary research on democracy.

The Hot Spot is structured around three questions:

  • What is democracy? What should it be? Different visions and repertoires of democracy

This question addresses normative challenges to democracy: Why would democracy be desirable? What different visions on democracy exist, new and old, what contestations and contradictions are visible, what new repertoires of democracy are being developed by citizens - often at the local level - around the world?

  • What are the empirical challenges to democracy and what is their impact?

This question addresses empirical challenges to democracy: How do challenges such as increasing inequality, diversity, climate change, new technologies and digitalisation, and crises affect the quality and functioning of democracy? How do these challenges impact democratic values and behavior, and what are the consequences for strengthening or undermining democracy?

  • How can we renew and re-invent practices, processes and institutions of democracy?

What new democratic practices, processes and repertoires of democracy are being developed in neighborhoods, schools, companies, and other parts of societies, and can such innovations be spread and scaled up? What other innovations could work to make democracy sustainable?

What purpose does the Hot Spot serve?

The purpose of the Hot Spot is to bring together scholars and practitioners working on democracy. The Hot Spot connects scholars from political science, public administration, economics, geography, business administration, law, history, sociology and philosophy. Our purpose is to engage in research, teaching and impact on how to make democracy sustainable.

What does the Hot Spot offer?

The Hot Spot provides a meeting place for scholars working on democracy from different disciplinary perspectives, we support interdisciplinary research on sustainable democracy, and we stimulate impact and engagement with practitioners.

We organise the annual Democracy Lecture at Radboud University, monthly research seminars, masterclasses on sustainable democracy and democratic innovation for practitioners, democratic games for civic education, and many more activities.


For questions or comments, contact the following Hot Spot coordinators: 

  • Carolien van Hamcarolien.vanham [at] (carolien[dot]vanham[at]ru[dot]nl)
  • Marlies Honinghmarlies.honingh [at] (marlies[dot]honingh[at]ru[dot]nl)
  • Wim van Meurswim.vanmeurs [at] (wim[dot]vanmeurs[at]ru[dot]nl)

Organisational unit