Doctoral Programme Democracy under Stress

Phd Programme Democracy under Stress (DUS)

Professor Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel and Professor Dr. Marion Reiser had developed it at the Center for the Study of Democracy and applied to the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture.

The scholarship holders will receive monthly funding of 1,500 euros over a period of three years. The funding period begins on 1 October 2016. Leuphana is providing two further scholarships from its own budget, so that a total of 14 doctoral students can be funded in this structured doctoral programme. Starting in their second year, individual doctoral students will also have the opportunity to participate in the Bachelor's programmes in political science at Leuphana College.


The doctoral program investigates how the new political, economic, ecological, and cultural challenges (‚stress factors’) that modern democracies encounter are perceived, dealt with, and solved in view of the existing tension between political legitimacy and restricted performance. It will further look into the implications that different modes of problem-handling have for the ‚survival chances’ of democracy. This twofold research agenda will be analyzed in three fields of study that represent the core functions of democracies: participation, representation, and inclusion.

The first field of study is concerned with how citizens in democratic societies perceive current societal challenges in light of increasing „emancipative“ value orientations and how these perceptions are translated into political behaviour (participatory democracy).

In the framework of the second field of study, the representative capacity of political intermediary organizations as well as political institutions within and outside the nation state will be analyzed (representative democracy).

By means of selected policy fields (e. g. environmental, climate, science and media policy) the third field of study looks into the issue of how new forms of political participation interact with traditional institutions, actors, and processes of representative democracy (inclusive democracy).


Professor Dr. Christian Welzel