How can we Measure, Study and Improve Citizens' Dissatisfaction with Representative Democracy in the EU's Multi-level System?

19.09.2023 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Daniela Braun
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität des Saarlandes

The presentation will provide some insights into the Horizon Europe-funded ActEU project, which has two main objectives: First, to explore the persistent problems of declining trust, legitimacy and representation in times of crisis and polarisation in European multi-level democracies. Second, to find new ways of addressing these major contemporary problems of European democracy. In doing so, we seek to answer the following questions, both conceptually and empirically: How can we measure political trust and legitimacy beyond the usual survey question? Does the multi-level nature of European representative democracies require identical levels of citizen support at the regional, national and EU levels? How does social polarisation on key contemporary political issues - immigration, climate change and gender inequality - challenge political trust and legitimacy in democratic political systems? And what can policy-makers and civil society do to address these challenges? Providing an innovative conceptual framework focusing on political attitudes, behaviour and representation across Europe, we build an original empirical infrastructure based on an innovative combination of methods and newly collected quantitative and qualitative empirical data (focus groups; experimental survey design; web scraping). Based on this empirical infrastructure, we will then develop a toolbox of remedies, including toolkits for political and civil society actors, educational cartoons for school teachers and university lecturers, to address issues of declining political trust in representative democracies in flux and to counteract further decline.