Social Sciences

Masterclass Jane Mansbridge - Faculty of Social Sciences

Masterclass Jane Mansbridge (postponed till a later date)

Prof. Jane Mansbridge We regret to inform you that, due to the new stringent government measures in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the presentation ceremony of the honorary doctorates and the masterclasses and lectures on Thursday 2 April 2020 have been postponed till a later date. 

The Future of Democracy

Thursday 2 April 2020

Masterclass on The Future of Democracy by Prof Jane Mansbridge, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Prof Jane Mansbridge will receive an honorary degree in recognition of her expertise in the field of political science, more particularly democratic representation.

Register for the masterclass


  • 1.00 p.m.Welcome 
    Introduction by Prof Petra Meier, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp
  • 1.10 p.m. The Future of Democracy​
    Masterclass by Prof Jane Mansbridge, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

    As climate change advances and nations become more interdependent internally and externally, they will need more solidarity, more mutual sense of duty, and more state coercion to handle the collective action – or 'free-rider' – problems that will emerge. The increasing state coercion they will need should be as minimal as possible, designed as much as possible so that external incentives do not drive out internal ones, and as legitimate as possible.

    Yet as the need for legitimate coercion increases, the legitimacy on which states can call decreases. Responding to this crisis requires innovation in many fields. Not only our practices but also our ideals of representation need updating from their roots in the 18th century.

    The aspirational ideal of 'recursive' representation, for example, responds to citizens’ desires to be heard and recognised. The practice of electoral representation needs supplementing with representation through sortition or 'civic lottery'.

    States and democratic theorists must recognise the importance of law-making in the administrative and societal realms, and plan for the involvement of ordinary citizens – not just major stakeholders – in these realms. Corruption needs to be approached with greater attention to its equilibrium quality, its context dependence, its deep relationship to interpersonal norms and, accordingly, its susceptibility to humour and other unorthodox modes of norm change. Populist regimes are responding to weaknesses in democratic structure and even in democratic ideals.

    The future of democracy requires that serious attention be paid to those weaknesses.

  • 2.00 p.m. End 
  • 4.00 p.m. Presentation of Honorary degrees: programme and registration


Prof Petra Meier

postponed till a later date Stadscampus

University of Antwerp
Building C – Aula C.003
Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerp