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In a context of globalization dynamics, cosmopolitanism is increasingly contested. Visions around a democracy beyond the nation state are becoming more pertinent as questions around the realization of global justice, economic integration and joint solutions for global challenges (like climate change) gain traction. Two questions have always been central to discussions around global governance: Firstly, what is the appropriate balance between national sovereignty and supranational power? And secondly, how to ensure that supranational institutions are sufficiently democratic and accountable to the larger citizenries they represent?


This research project explores bottom-up conceptions of supranational democracy among citizens in Germany and France. Using an advanced experimental design, it asks participants to make an informed choice between the most prominent alternatives for international governance. The explored models are intergovernmental, federal, polycentric, cosmopolitan and post-colonial models. Their application is explored in two contexts: first, as solutions for the European Union and second, as solutions for global democracy. In understanding participants’ reasoning for their preferred governance model, the project explores the relevance of ideas such as equal rights, social justice and economic prospects in global governance. The survey investigates the conditions and constraints for citizens’ willingness to transfer power to supranational levels, and studies their preferred modes of decision-making in global governance.


By combining these aspects in a sophisticated design, this study on cosmopolitan democracy assesses the potentials and constraints for realizing a more fully integrated and just democracy for Europe and the world.


This image shows Franziska Maier

Franziska Maier


Postdoctoral Researcher

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