Democracy and Other Studies

The Committee for the Study of Democracy provides a framework for faculty and student initiatives focused on democratization and democracy in the contemporary world. The committee's activities help students to pursue interdisciplinary studies concerned with building and sustaining democratic institutions.

The initiatives taken within the framework of the committee draw on the major interests of The New School for Social Research. These include political and social theories about democracy, studies of international processes that shape politics within many countries, and analyses of regions in which problems of democracy are central for contemporary politics. The latter areas include not only Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America, but also the United States and parts of Europe where democratic institutions have been in place for some time. We deal with both empirical and normative problems: foundations of democracy, democratization, constitutional and political design, conflicts among democratic practices, multiple forms of diversity, problems of citizenship, and modes of democratic political action.

The Committee for the Study of Democracy draws on the work of members of several departments at The New School for Social Research and enlists the active cooperation of a number of international associates. Two centers at the school-the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies and the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship-are associated with the committee.

Transregional Center for Democratic Studies
In light of recent social and political transformations, two contradictory processes-globalization and increasing fragmentation into ethnic enclaves-have dominated the imagination of scholars and policy-makers. The integrated set of activities engaged in by the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) draws on the concept of a region as a promising perspective from which to examine the complex relations between the local and the global. The center's programs, designed to foster a better understanding of how concerns of "new" and "old" democracies are today beginning to converge, focus on the problems of democratic institutional design at the local, national, and, above all, regional level, primarily in the four regions targeted by its activities-Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus; sub-Saharan Africa; Latin America; and North America.

Currently, the major program of TCDS is the Transregional Learning Network (TLN). This program's structure relies on two region-based annual summer institutes-the Democracy & Diversity Graduate Summer Institutes in Krakow, Poland, and Cape Town, South Africa; a New Social Science Training follow-up program for selected institute alumni, conducted annually at The New School for Social Research; and an ongoing Internet-based support system, our Electronic Learning Networks, making the latest professional and career resources available to all program alumni after their return to their home countries. The program is implemented in close cooperation with local partners in southern Africa and Eastern Europe who also participated in its design. Each of its program elements is structured in three thematic clusters: Democratization, Civil Society and Civic Life, and Diversity.

International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship
The International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship (ICMEC) engages in scholarly research and public policy analysis of international migration, refugees, and the incorporation of newcomers. The center was founded in 1993 as a collaborative undertaking of New York metropolitan-area educational institutions. It conducts research and policy analysis concerning the causes of large international migrations and refugee flows, the effects of immigration on the politics and policies of receiving countries, and the implications of these phenomena for contemporary notions of sovereignty and citizenship. The center promotes interdisciplinary inquiry and graduate education on these subjects.

 
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