Designing Democracy on Mars and Earth


Which democracy do citizens want? How do they conceive a good democracy on earth and an ideal one on mars. An ERC Advanced Grant

The ERC Advanced Grant “Designing Democracy on Mars and Earth” (DDME) sets up a bottom-up, reflective, deliberative and co-creative design to obtain a deeper understanding of citizens’ democratic preferences in the 21stcentury. DDME explores which governance designs citizens and democratic principles would adopt on Mars (in an ideal world) or on Earth (in the existing political systems in which they live). 

Within this design, DDME explores how political decisions should be made. It focuses on a democratic core in the form of principles of democracy that are the baseline of democracy support and preferences. Preferences are then explored on governance designs and democratic contexts like civil society, welfare state and social justice. 

Regarding governance designs, DDME zooms in on direct, representative and delegative schemes (ranging from direct democratic instruments and deliberative minipublics to consensual vs majoritarian forms of representative government and technocratic governance visions) as well as potential mixes of the various schemes. 

Regarding democratic principles, it considers principles such as equality, freedom, social justice, sustainability or efficiency. Since many citizens only have some basic intuitions what democracy is and how it functions, DDME analyses what designs and principles emerge when citizens had the chance to reflect and deliberate, i.e. to ´weigh´ reasons regarding the pros and cons of various designs and principles in a dialogical setting with their fellow citizens and democratic experts. 

The project focuses on two in countries in the Global North (Germany and the United States) and one country in the Global South (India). DDME will also comprise a global extension, by analysing what citizens in France and Germany want from global governance (contrasting governance at the world and the EU level). To capture citizens´ democratic preferences, DDME will conduct various survey and field experiments comprising representative or maximally diverse citizens the various countries.

This image shows André Bächtiger

André Bächtiger

Prof. Dr.

Leitung Sowi II
Geschäftsführender Direktor Gesamtinstitut

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