What is the Democracy Observatory?


The Democracy Observatory studies the transformations affecting contemporary politics. It questions how institutions and decision-making processes can adapt to respond to the great economic, technological, ecological and social transformations, of a global dimension, in order to monitor changes and respond to the needs of citizens. It looks at possible evolutions of the European integration process; it promotes a discussion on the conditions that can allow parties and intermediate bodies to regain a dimension that is inclusive of social demands; it studies the transformations of political communication and the role of social media.


Scientific Committee


Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University

Mario Del Pero, Sciences Po

Hanspeter Kriesi, European University Institute

Gianfranco Bettin, polititian and author

Maurizio Ferrera, Università degli Studi di Milano

Lorenzo De Sio, LUISS Guido Carli

Luciano Fasano, Università degli Studi di Milano

Giovanni Allegretti, Centro Estudos Sociais de l’Universidade di Coimbra

Network (main players)


Columbia University, Università degli Studi di Milano, Centro Estudos Sociais de l’Universidade de Coimbra, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, European University Institute, Green European Foundation, Sciences Po, Fundación Chile 21, London School of Economics, Université Paris VIII, LUISS Guido Carli.

Partecipants include:


Colin Crouch, British sociologist and political scientist;

Stephanie Kelton, economist;

Francis Fukuyama, American political scientist;

Chantal Mouffe, Belgian political scientist;

Joshua Wong, Hong Kong activist and political scientist;

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona;

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek economist, academic and politician;

Melanie Haas, sociologist and political scientist head of the department of Politics, Alliance 90/ The Greens.

Flagship activities in Italy


A Road to Europe

A series of meetings aimed at mapping the current debate on the transformations of the European Union in the context of the multiple crises it has been faced with.

Partecipants include: Yves Mény, LUISS Guido Carli; Caterina Di Fazio, Maastricht University; Waltraud Schelkle, European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences; Gunilla Dahlberg, Stockholm University; Peter Moss, University College of London; László Andor, economist, Corvinus University di Budapest. (2018, 2019/2020)


What is Left/What is Right

A series of talks on the transformations of traditional political groupings, their messages, identities and perspectives. Are left and right still useful categories for interpreting today’s political phenomena?

Partecipants include: Yanis Varoufakis, economist and ex-Finance Minister; Florian Philippot, Director of Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign for Marine Le Pen; Paul Mason, economics journalist, author. (2017/2018, 2019)


Democrazia Minima

A day of discussions, roundtables and debates to explore the transformations of democracy: the impact of inequalities, changes in political representation and organized interests, the phenomenology of populism, the analysis of social movements and the dynamics of democratic innovation and the role of new media.

Partecipants include: Wolfgang Merkel, WZB Berlin; Joan Subirats, UAB Barcelona; Livia Turco, exHealth Minister; Stephanie Kelton, Stonybrook University; Gloria de la Fuente, President Fundación Chile 21.(2018/2019)


Move On. Movements, conflicts, needs

A cycle of talks focusing on movements, conflicts and mobilization practices that can represent points of reference and voices of protest for influencing public agendas within the international landscape.

Partecipants include: Joshua Wong, activist; Danièle Obono, France Insoumise; Vula Tsetsi, Secretary-General for the Greens, European Parliament; José Pérez, Mesa de Unidad Social; Carles Mundó, ex Minister of Justice, Catalonia. (2019/2020)

Principal activities in Europe


Solid – Policy Crisis and Crisis Politics, Sovereignty, Solidarity and Identity in the EU post 2008

Starting from the ongoing coexistence of “existential” precariousness and institutional adaptation of the the European Union, the SOLID project strives to elaborate scenarios and perspectives, focusing on factors that could enhance the EU’s longterm political sustainability, making it more “solid”. The ERC European project is led by the University of Milan.
Additional partners: European University Institute, London School of Economics.



The project aims to measure expectations and needs in relation to the activation of the European Green Deal Horizon 2020 European project, by means of pilot experiments in participatory and deliberative democracy in various European regions, with Centro Estudos Sociais de l’Universidade de Coimbra as lead partner.
Additional partners: Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNR), Res Publica, University of Southampton, Rijks Universitet Groningen, E-Riigi Akadeemia Sihtasutus, Université Paris VIII.



Europe4Citizens European project is led by Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. The project aims to contribute to the development of a new counter-narrative on the phenomenon of migration through the collection of real-life experiences of residents and migrants.
Additional partners: Arty-Farty, Amel France, Agora Europa, SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa, Studio Europa Maastricht.



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