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The Cultural Roots of Democratic Backsliding

January 26th, 2024 at 10:00 am to 11:30 am

  • Virtual Event
  • Meeting link is not yet available
  • Cost: Free

Political Science Online Lecture
Pippa Norris
Harvard University

Warning signals from international monitoring agencies show that people in every world region face clear and present danger from democratic backsliding, democratic breakdown, and authoritarian resurgence. This talk examines explanations for these developments: Does an erosion of democratic institutions and values provide opportunities for authoritarian political actors? Or do leaders who come to power through free and fair elections gradually weaken checks and balances, and thus undermine liberal democracy? How does democratic backsliding occur, and how do institutional designs matter? The talk is based on new evidence from the Varieties of Democracy project, the Global Party Survey, and the World Values Survey, as well as case studies of Hungary, India, Brazil, and the United States.

Pippa Norris is a comparative political scientist who has taught at Harvard for three decades. She is the Paul McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, an Affiliated Professor at Harvard’s Government Department, and founding Director of the Electoral Integrity Project. She is the author of around 50 books. This talk draws on a forthcoming monograph on The Cultural Roots of Democratic Backsliding (Oxford University Press 2024).