Workshop 5: Democracy and Institutional Change

Organized by Fredrik Engelstad, Department of Sociology and Human Geography

After the optimism following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has seen more of a democratic backlash. But despite the backlashes, in some societies the stability of democracy does not seem to be threatened at all. Why is this so? One common answer points to civic culture, a shared feeling of responsibility for the common fate of citizens.

An alternative, to be explored in this session, is that the stability of democratic rule is anchored in its integration in the large set of social institutions with indirect relationship to politics. They are linked to, give input to and are affected by democratic processes. Where these relations are ubiquitous and strong, democracy is stable.  At the same time, institutions are slowly but constantly changing. Hence, in order to understand changes in the functioning of democracy at the level of the state, it is necessary to explore the changes in surrounding institutions and the way they shape a democratic society.

In the sessions this approach will be applied to modern European societies, with special weight on Scandinavia and Germany.

If you want to participate at this workshop, please contact Fredrik Engelstad.



Thursday 5 November, 13.30 - 15.30 and 16.00 - 18.00

  • Lars Mjøset, The rise and fall of employer paternalism in welfare policies. Comments by Trygve Gulbrandsen
  • Kaja Reegård, Working alone. Working life as arena for political socialization. Comments by Lars Mjøset
  • Trygve Gulbrandsen, Elites and professions. Comments by Kaja Reegård
  • Sveinung Legard, Popular participation in large scale democratic process. Comments by Øyvind Skorge

Friday 6 November, 11.00 - 13.00

  • Øyvind Skorge, The emergence of gender quotas in political parties in Norway. Comments by Espen Olsen
  • Sissel Trygstad, Employment relations and institutions for democratic participation. Comments by Sveinung Legard
  • Espen Olsen, Citizenship: From denationalization to renationalization? Comments by Torben Hviid Nielsen
  • Torben Hviid Nielsen, Performative argumentation. Comments by Fredrik Engelstad


Published Sep. 15, 2015 9:18 AM - Last modified Nov. 4, 2015 11:50 AM