Research Unit 'Democratic Innovations'

Societies change - and democracy has to adapt.
The future of democracy is the innovative combination of
representative, deliberative and direct democratic practices.
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Geissel

Welcome to the website of the Research Unit 'Democratic Innovations' at Goethe University Frankfurt, founded 2012 and chaired by Prof. Brigitte Geissel. We are an international team of scholars investigating new and innovative forms of democracy from a wide theoretical and methodological spectrum. We pool expertise on democratic innovations collaborating within a broad network of international scholars. We provide guidance and support to practitioners and policy-makers in their search for democratic renewal.

Democratic systems are ever-shifting constellations of actors, practices and institutions. Currently, representative democracy is challenged by a fundamental crisis and by increasing demands for novel forms of political involvement. Our aim is to understand, compare, and assess these developments. Furthermore, we develop scenarios for future democracies. Our approach:  

- we comparatively analyse effects and backgrounds of democratic innovations in representative democracy (Participatory Innovations, Background & Effects)

- we develop scenarios for the future of democracy  (Scenarios for the Future of Democracy)

- we messure how citizens, politicans and scolars perceive democracy and scrudinize their process preferences (Perceptions of Democracy)

Organigram of Research Unit

For further informations about the team and contact details please look at the team webpage.



Prof. Dr. Geissel: Democracy as Self-Governing. 11th October 2023 at 4:10pm at the Oechsle Center for Global Education, Lafayette College Easton

Prof. Dr. Geissel: Zur aktuellen Lage der Demokratie in Europa und beyond – Krisen und Lösungen. 8th June 2023 at 6pm at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftkollegs Greifswald

New Publications: 

Geissel, Brigitte/ Michels, Ank/ Silagadze, Nanuli/ Schauman, Jonas/ Grönlund, Kimmo  (2023): Public Deliberation or Popular Votes? Measuring the Performance of Different Types of Participatory Democracy, Representation (Link

Dean, Rikki/ Hoffmann, Felix/ Geissel, Brigitte/ Jung, Stefan/ Wipfler, Bruno (2022): Citizen Deliberation in Germany: Lessons from the 'Bürgerrat Demokratie', German Politics, 2022 (Link)

Krämling, Anna/ Geißel, Brigitte/Rinne, Jonathan/Paulus, Lars (2022): Direct Democracy and Equality: a Global PerspectiveInternational Political Science Review

Geissel, Brigitte (2022): Demokratie als Vision - Inspirationen für eine Demokratie der Zukunft, Außerschulische Bildung, Zeitschrift der politischen Jugend- und Erwachsenenbildung, 2/2022, 19-25

Brigitte Geissel/ Anna Krämling: Inégalités et bien-être, in: Raul Magni-Berton & Laurence Morel (eds): Démocraties Directes, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2022

Curato, Nicole, David Farrell, Brigitte Geissel, Kimmo Grönlund, Jean-Benoit Pilet, Alan Renwick, Jonathan Rose,  2021. “Deliberative Mini Publics: Core Design Features." Politische Presse Stipendium Online  , Policy Press Scholarship Online (PPSO)

Administration Office of Prof. Geißel

Melina Cali - Office Manager

Room 3.G 009

Hauspostfach 23
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
D-60323 Frankfurt am Main

Phone: +49 69 798-36515