Achtung: Demokratie

The WZB lecture series “Achtung: Demokratie” offers a forum for discussions that have been amplified – at the WZB and elsewhere – by the rise of right-wing populism, the Brexit referendum and the increasing polarization in Europe and the USA. Liberal democracies are under pressure and need to re-legitimize themselves. For its part, science has to determine the extent of its own engagement beyond detached analysis.

Researchers from the WZB and other institutions are invited to present their findings and discuss their take on these debates with the audience.

The lecture series was brought to life by the internal WZB group, “Political Challenges,” which was initiated by Ellen von den Driesch and Fred Felix Zaumseil.

On October 4, 2017, Bernhard Weßels gave the series' inaugural lecture with an analysis of that year’s German federal election.


Forthcoming Events



Past events


November 29, 2021

Umstrittene Expertise als Herausforderung für die Demokratie?

Roundtable via Zoom

March 10, 2021

Zwischen Zurückhaltung und Engagement: Wie kommt die Wissenschaft in die Politik?

Virtual discussion via Zoom

November 25, 2020

Abschied für immer? Der Brexit und die Folgen für Gesellschaft und Wissenschaft

Discussion via Zoom

January 20, 2020

Smarte Spalter: Die AfD zwischen Bewegung und Parlament

Book presentation and discussion

January 14, 2020

Rise and Resist

Movie preview and discussion

April 12, 2019

„Achtung: Demokratie!“

Diskussionsforum in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Deutschen Historischen Museum Berlin

January 30, 2019

Die (un-)gewollten Grenzen der Wissenschaftsfreiheit in Deutschland

Panel discussion

November 12, 2018

Populismus in Zeiten von Krisen - Herausforderung für die Demokratie

Frank Decker (Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn)

June 19, 2018

Arbeit: der blinde Fleck der Demokratie

Panel discussion

April 24, 2018

Reining in Facebook and the Platform Economy How Can Society Benefit from AI and Digital Technology?

Steven Hill (currently a Journalist in Residence at WZB)

January 23, 2018

Stand up for Science – Filmpreview

Dieter Rucht (Protest researcher and WZB fellow)

January 17, 2018

Reflections on Post-Truth

John Keane (University of Sydney and WZB)

Oktober 23, 2017

Why we should trust science

Naomi Oreskes (Harvard University)

October 4, 2017

Deutschland hat gewählt. Analysen zur Bundestagswahl 2017

"Achtung: Demokratie" inaugural lecture by Bernhard Weßels.

Drei Köpfe im Gespräch


Friederike Theilen-Kosch

E-mail: friederike.theilen-kosch [at]
Tel.: +49 30 25491 512