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  • Questions about the performance of democratic governance, about trust in democratic institutions and their representatives, about the system’s inherent ability to self-correct and to respond to unforeseen situations are now once again being raised with particular urgency. ›Which copes better with the virus – totalitarian states or democracies?‹ was the question a reporting team from the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT wanted to answer at the beginning of 2021, investigating the strategies and practices of pandemic control in Germany and China, the USA and Iran. The answer certainly depends on how one weights different indicators and which time horizon one chooses for consideration. It also depends on the value one wishes to place on democratic procedures, especially in the face of acute decision-making pressure. Quite apart from the Covid pandemic, democratic systems, even those of the ›West‹ with a long tradition, are increasingly undergoing a crisis of legitimacy, are exposed to hostility, are disparaged or even violently opposed. Against this backdrop, the Gerda Henkel Foundation announced a ›Funding Programme Democracy‹ in 2019, and various Berlin research institutions opened the Cluster of Excellence ›Contestations of the Liberal Script‹ in 2020.

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Author:Jan-Holger Kirsch
Parent Title (English):Zeithistorische Forschungen – Studies in Contemporary History
Publisher:ZZF – Centre for Contemporary History: Zeithistorische Forschungen
Place of publication:Potsdam
Document Type:Journal Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/03/15
Date of first Publication:2021/03/15
Release Date:2021/03/15
First Page:433
Last Page:436
Web-Publications:Zeithistorische Forschungen
Studies in Contemporary History: Articles:3 / 2020 Offenes Heft
Licence (German):License LogoZZF - Clio Lizenz