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Research environment

DGc - Center for Democratic Government in Change

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Jan Olsson

Research Domains

  • Humanities-Social sciences

The origins of democratic government date back some 2,500 years. Its modern reawakening constitutes, nonetheless, one of the most important innovations of the 20th century. It has spread over the world in sequential waves and has been given various institutional forms in different countries. However, democracies have also faced major problems and challenges during the last decades, such as globalisation, decreasing trust, and weakening participation. To secure, improve, and develop democratic forms of government in times of change, new challenges and possibilities need to be handled in intelligent ways. The Center for Democratic Government in Change (DGc) at Örebro University takes on this challenge by contributing with research of high quality in collaboration with governments, public agencies and civil society organisations. The center is rooted in political science and works in cooperation with other social science disciplines. The aim of DGc is:

  • to describe and analyse reforms and processes of change of great relevance to democratic governments at various levels and in different countries, as well as to critically asses their democratic and political consequences,
  • to understand and explain major reform trends and processes of change of relevance to democratic governments, and in particular to elaborate on contextual factors that tend to promote or resist change (the change – stability dimension), and
  • to contribute constructively to developing and testing reforms aimed at bridging the gap between citizens and their representatives in collaboration with practitioners.

Within this research environment, we primarily conduct research within two interrelated themes; Citizen participation, democracy and civic engagement and Governance, public policy and political institutions.

DGc approaches reforms and change processes both in a critical and constructive way. Ambitious reforms may have very little to do with new ideas or solutions, while truly innovative changes may develop under many different labels. We are therefore open to both top-down reforms and change processes from below. We critically analyse ambitious reform initiatives and their outcomes, but we also take part in dialogues in relation to different reform alternatives and seek to find new ways forward. As researchers, we are not a quiet audience watching things go by. In a truly collaborative spirit, we take part in public discussions in which we can offer ideas and arguments based on social science research of high quality.

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