Fakultäten » Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät » Rechtswissenschaftliches Institut » Staats-, Verwaltungs- und Völkerrecht » Prof. Dr. Andreas Glaser » Welp

Completed research project

Title / Titel Democratic Innovation - Learning from the Latin American Experience
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung We plan to function as a bridge-building organization between Latin America and Europe and work on the following two projects:

Political parties' attitudes towards direct democracy and digital media
According to several surveys, Latin American political parties and parliaments are the institutions most affected by the crisis of representative democracy. But at the same time a majority of the population thinks that democracy is not possible without these institutions. The lack of confidence in the institutions of representative democracy is not only a particularity of Latin America, but a documented problem in consolidated Western democracies. In this context, several scholars have stressed that ICTs present an opportunity to politicians and political organisations to improve their contact with the citizens by offering tools to establish more and better links between representatives and the represented. Our study seeks to follow political parties' attitudes toward the new institutions of direct and participatory democracy. It will be observed through party programs, votes and formal positions towards the inclusion of participatory devices, as well as interviews with party leaders. The research will shed light on a topic rather ignored by the literature and will thereby contribute to the public debate in Latin America.

Promoting or eroding democracy? Civil Society Organizations between institutions, digital media and the streets
An active civil society is key to building democracy, but at the same time if 'breakthroughs' by civil society are not followed by fundamental changes in socio-economic structures, then society merely enters a new cycle associated with ever-increasing disenchantment with politics. In a best-case scenario, civil society organizations can force open the political system and re-establish a link between representatives and those who are represented. Behind the social protests that quite often catch the attention of mass media in Latin America, societal organizations with the capacity to engage in –and sustain over time– the politics of protest are becoming increasingly important. By analyzing political campaigns launched by civil society in a bid to influence national policy-making in concrete critical situations, this project seeks to examine the extent to which the prevalent patterns of civic and political involvement are changing and under what conditions the new (legal) institutions of participation are effective tools for citizens' intervention. The preselected case studies are: (a) Urban protests in Brazil 2013; (b) Initiative against oil extraction in Yasuni (Ecuador); (c) Initiative against building a road through Tipnis (Bolivia).
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Yanina Welp (Project Leader)
Dr. Jonathan Wheatley
Dr. Uwe Serdült
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Avina Stiftung
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau Switzerland
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Oct 2014 to Sep 2017