Democracy and Dictatorship

Universität Erfurt (Nordhäuser Str. 63, 99089 Erfurt) und Internationales Begegnugszentrum der Universität Erfurt (Michaelisstr. 38, 99084 Erfurt)
Forschungsgruppe "Freiwilligkeit", Universität Erfurt / Research Unit "Voluntarism", University of Erfurt
24.01.2019 - 25.01.2019
Meike Katzek

The research unit „Voluntarism“ at Erfurt University is pleased to invite you to a workshop on Democracy and Dictatorship in transregional and transepochal perspective on January 24th and 25th 2019 in Erfurt.

Our key question as a research unit is to what extent voluntary action and participation is a pattern, principle, and even demand in and by liberalism and from a historical long-term perspective. We particularly explore the antinomic structure of voluntary action and participation: On one hand, they require „free” decision making, on the other hand, they are always embedded in a set of conditions, demands, and expectations, which are beyond individual control. How voluntary is voluntary action, if it is conditioned by cultural configurations, and if it even is a political principle and systemic demand? Conceptually, we are inspired by governmentality theory and debates on freedom as practice.

The workshop on Democracy and Dictatorship deals with questions on governmentality, and voluntary action and participation in various historical contexts – from Antiquity to modern liberalism, from Mesopotamia to North America. Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School) will give a conceptual keynote on the topic, with a commentary by Susanne Krasmann (Hamburg University). Claudia Horst (LMU Munich) goes back to democratic and participative forms of governance in Mesopotamia and highlights their transfer to Athens, later known as the „cradle of democracy“. Volker Depkat (Regensburg University) explores voluntarism as remedy for the diseases of Democracy in the American Republic, often considered the cradle of liberty in the modern world.

For further information or registration please contact:


Thursday, 24 Jan. 2019 –Erfurt University, building 4, room D 08

6-8 pm
Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School): Signatures of Power: Liberalism, Democracy and Dictatorship
Susanne Krasmann (Hamburg University): Commentary


Friday, 25 Jan. 2019 –IBZ, Michaelisstraße 38

9.30-10.45 am
Volker Depkat (Regensburg University): Voluntarism as Republican Remedy for the Diseases of Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America


11.15 am-12.30 pm
Claudia Horst (LMU Munich): Pericles and Cyrus the Great. Democratic Forms of Governance in Mesopotamia and Greece

12.30-1 pm
Concluding discussion



Daniel Albrecht
Universität Erfurt
Historisches Seminar
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Democracy and Dictatorship, 24.01.2019 – 25.01.2019 Erfurt, in: H-Soz-Kult, 10.01.2019, <>.