Coordination resulting from the partnership with the Federal University of Minas Gerais: Leonardo Avritzer



What is democracy? Where does the idea come from? How can it be justified and in what grounds? What are the boundaries? What transformations took place in the last century and what innovations mark the expansion in number and quality of the new millennium democratic regimes? These and other issues at the core of the democratic theory represent the starting point of the Doctoral Programme in "Democracy in the 21st Century".

This is an advanced interdisciplinary training programme which will promote a comprehensive and integrated perspective over the main challenges facing democracies today. Focussing on the contemporary debate from the 21st century, the course offers an introduction to democratic theory critical analysis and develops various emerging topics of great importance to the current international debate, such as political ecology, eurocentrism and antiracism, the relation between democracy and science, the experience of the communitarian and participatory democracy and the democracy dynamics at a regional and international level.

This doctoral programme, "Democracy in the 21st Century", benefits from the vast research experience of CES-Associated Lab, the University of Coimbra's Faculty of Economy (FEUC) and a partnership with the Doctoral Programme in Political Sciences of Minas Gerais Federal University (BR), and critically discusses the North-South and South-South perspectives, as well as contextualizing the development of the advanced studies relating to political phenomena in the various European, African, Latin-american and Asian areas.
The doctoral programme "Democracy in the 21st Century" started in 2007/2008 and holds its fifth edition in 2016/2017. It is a third cycle programme, in compliance with the organization formats proposed by Bologna Declaration and accredited by the Assessment and Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (A3ES).


The doctoral programme aims at contributing to an advanced training of interdisciplinary and inter-scalar nature about the contemporary Democracy. The objectives include:
1. Provide a systematic and critical comprehension of Democracy, its suppositions, concepts and practices;
2. Promote a detailed discussion about issues such as multiculturalism, integration/inclusion, political and civic participation and governance;
3. Encourage advanced research interconnecting the perspectives of Political Science with the perspectives of Sociology, with original results of a high quality and worthy of being nationally and internationally disseminated, and whose operationalization will encourage social and cultural progress within the field of the Social Sciences;
4. Give the students an opportunity to articulate teaching - learning - research - action;
5. Provide a space for the discussion and production of doctoral theses that will focus on political-sociological phenomena in a detailed, critical and interdisciplinary manner, focussing on a comparative approach.


The doctoral programme articulates four main lines of research:
- Diversity and Citizenship
This line of research aims at comparing different approaches on citizenship as well as exploring issues about cultural inclusion, interculturalism, racial equality, and the fight for the recognition of cultural and religious minorities and those with different sexual orientation. It focuses mainly on topics such as feminism, integration/inclusion politics, the fight for racial equality and other related issues.
- Compared Democracies
This line of research aims at analysing practices of democracy enrichment and innovation through various forms of citizen participation in the territorial and budgetary planning and in the decision-making process of public policies. Special focus is given to local and regional innovation, such as the Participatory Budget and knowledge democratization practices, namely the Health Councils and others matching the various fields of knowledge and citizens with specific scopes of action in science and technology. Focus is also given to the reconstitucionalization processes identified in various countries, for example countries in Africa and Latin-America, where there has been an activation of civil society consultation processes, in a comparative framework.
- Participation, networks and social movements
This line of research aims at analysing emerging social movement and their interconnection networks, from a broad understanding of the concept of "political" and the "politization" work. What is discussed here is the possibility of transforming what seems non-political into political. This transformation implies approaching topics and experiences which have been invisible to the majority of the civil society and the State, as well as creating new power relationships through actions and confrontations of elevated public visibility. The research work of the doctoral students in this area must fall upon comparing these initiatives with other movements registered in previous periods and in different contexts. Special focus is given to the topics of political ecology and the artistic movements under the fight for the conquest of the Right to the City.
- Global Governance
This line of research aims at identifying the global governance mechanisms and dynamics, questioning the place and density of the democracy within those processes and critically analysing their impact on democratic practices at a regional, national and local scale. It also aims at exploring the connection between democracy, peace and conflict.

CES is a pole of concentration of critical and diverse thinking. As an activist, CES provided me an intellectually stimulant environment to develop my ideas, discuss them and learn with academic-activists, students, researchers and professors from across the world.

Jonas Van Vossole, all but dissertation (Belgium)