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ACELG Member Nik de Boer and a team of researchers received a midsize grant from the UvA for an interdisciplinary project on democratic backsliding: ‘Identifying and safeguarding the normative foundations of democracy’. Understanding why democratic decay happens and how it can be prevented, is of major societal relevance.

Threatened democractic norms

Despite growing attention to democratic backsliding, we know less about the informal foundations of democracy among citizens and, especially, political elites. This is surprising because democratic norms are foundational to the functioning of democracy, and it is precisely these norms that are increasingly threatened. The project fills this gap and will provide new insights on how we can make democracy more resilient, by studying the emergence, determinants, and strength of democratic norms among citizens and elites in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

The project is a joint initiative of the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Nik de Boer, Assistant Professor in Constitutional Law, is the project leader.

The researchers will develop tools, publish papers, organise stakeholder meetings with policymakers and collaborate with various partners such as the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, The European Democracy Hub, the Centre for Policy Research, the Observer Research Foundation, George Washington University and 'Stichting Grondwet op de basisschool'.

The research project also provides the impetus for the launch of a new interfaculty platform for Democratic Resilience. This platform will organize a monthly lecture and serve as a forum for research on democracy within the University of Amsterdam.

Project team:
Nik de Boer (Law), Bert Bakker (ASCoR), Ward Berenschot (Anthropology), Robin de Bruin (European Studies), Ursula Daxecker (Political Science), Jan Willem Duyvendak (Sociology), Ursus Eijkelenberg (Law), Niels Graaf (Law), Imke Harbers (Political Science), Maciej Krogel (European Studies), Theresa Kuhn (European Studies), Matthijs Lok (European Studies), Neeraj Prasad (Political Science), Matthijs Rooduijn (Political Science), Gijs Schumacher (Political Science), Gulnaz Sibgatullina (European Studies), Jack Thompson (History) and Jerfi Uzman (Law).


Dr. mr. N.J. (Nik) de Boer

Assistant Professor in Constitutional Law