KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Research areas

Project Research Training Group: Climate Change and Democracy

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie
Coordinator: Anne Kroh (on leave)
Interim Coordinator: Marcel Siepmann


Funded by: Hans Böckler Foundation

On February 1st 2011 the research training group “Climate Change and Democracy” took up its work at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI). Four PhD scholarships, each running for three years the most, are awarded to young researchers.
The impacts of climate change threaten the very foundations of liberal democracies. Thus, the question has to be raised as to how far democracies are capable of developing effective measures to avoid dangerous climate change and to implement powerful disaster control mechanisms. Without a new political culture of civic participation, democracy itself threatens to be seriously damaged in the light of these severe challenges. Furthermore, new rules and instruments of global governance are needed, which also recognise the diverging cultural perceptions and attitudes towards the worldwide phenomenon of climate change.
The research training group intervenes in theoretical and empirical democracy research while particularly focusing on a yet sparsely investigated domain, the legitimacy and performance of national and supranational climate policy. In this context, the following topics will be especially dealt with:

  • Democratic legitimacy and performance of climate policy in old and new liberal (party-)democracies
  • Place and function of non-parliamentary climate protection initiatives in democratic and autocratic systems, with particular consideration of unions and consumer organisations
  • Interest constellations in international climate diplomacy
  • Democratisation of climate governance on supra- and international level