In recent decades, our society has become more individualized, diverse, digital and global. Our democracy must also adapt to these changes if we wish for the diverse interests to continue leading to balanced policy outcomes. However, when faced with these challenges, our democracy often seems sluggish and inflexible. What’s more, it is currently unable to make effective use of its creative possibilities to solve problems. Citizens have noticed this, as well. As a result, many people’s confidence in how democracy works has eroded. At the same time, rising social inequality and an inability to reform democratic institutions are exacerbating this loss of confidence and fostering a feeling of insecurity that permeates society. At present, populist movements are particularly benefiting from these uncertainties about how to deal with social challenges as well as from citizen’s dissatisfaction with democracy.
Against this backdrop, our project carries out an in-depth analysis of democracy, asking questions such as: What is the state of our democracy in Germany? Where exactly do citizens see it strengths and weaknesses? What do experts have to say about this? To answer these questions, we have developed our “Democracy Monitor,” an analytical tool whose innovative methodology takes into account both the expertise of scholars and the assessment of citizens. The aim is to identify the areas in which Germany’s democracy is in the most urgent need of reform as well as to come up with suitable potential solutions for how we can adapt our democracy to respond better to the mounting social challenges.