Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

Scalar Revolutions in the History of Democracy: Transforming Global Governance

Our understanding of democracy has changed with globalization: nation-states are no longer the main locus of politics. Large-scale transformations (e.g. the digital revolution, the ecological and financial crises) influence all humanity. Various social, ethical, and economic challenges are regarded as global issues that require global and transnational policy responses. However, the ‘democratic deficit’ in global governance and the inequalities resulting from this deficit cause governance failures in coping with global crises (Haas 2004, Bäckstrand 2006, Mouffe 2000). My research focuses on the critical question, “how can the issues concerning all of humanity be governed more democratically?”

A new configuration of democratic principles must be developed, which suits the structure of power at the global (rather than the national) level, with the explicit aim of democratising global governance. To do this, my study has one historical-discursive and one empirical foci: Studying the transformation of democracy from ancient city-states to modern nation-states provides the background to understand how democracy can be reconfigured, and what  concepts might be revived to democratize global governance. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of democratic experiments provides the empirical component: ‘Governance experiments’ that seek to reframe democracy in the context of global environmental governance are a good source of ideas for its reconfiguration.


May 2014 – April 2015