The Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century

Wednesday, 13. October 2010 | 11:00 Uhr


Hanspeter Kriesi


University Zurich


In his introductory presentation, Professor Hanspeter Kriesi from the University of Zurich focused on the different areas of influence of economy and politics. That is why problems often arise. He stated that increasing globalization challenges basic requirements of democracy where decision-makers are approved by those who are affected by the decisions. However, this does not always apply in a globalized and increasingly interdependent world. This is also true because political integration lags behind economic integration. Decisions which are relevant to us are increasingly taken by committees and people who were not elected by us nor indirectly depend on the representatives we elected. The second part of his presentation was dedicated to the frequently discussed power of the media. From a pessimist point of view, the growing influence of media leads to spectacularization, personalization and trivialization of politics. It often occurs that politicians adapt themselves to the media in order to present themselves. The increasing diversification of media channels bears the risk that people only gather information which confirms and strengthens their own view of the world leading to a polarization of politics and all unpleasant consequences related to it. From an optimistic point of view, however, the diversity of media channels fosters dialogue between the citizens themselves and political decision-makers.

Hanspeter Kriesi

Hanspeter Kriesi (*1949) studied Sociology

1972 Licence at the University of Berne
1975 M.A. in Sociology at the University of Chicago
1976 Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Zurich
1980 Habilitation at the University of Zurich, Private-docent ab to1986

1984-88 Full professor for collective political behavior, University of Amsterdam
1988-92 Full professor at the Departement of Political Science, University of Geneva

1991-2001 Various Function at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, at Swiss National
Science Foundation, at the Cornell University, Ithaca and at the
University of Geneva

since 2002 Professor for comparative politics, University of Zurich
since 2005 Director of the NCCR „Challenges to democracy in the 21st Centry”

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