Pushing Democracy to its Limits

  • Learning from Athens
Guest Lecture


Florian Bettel , Alexandra Graupner , Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien. Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab


  • 08 November 2017– 13:30– Franz-Josefs-Kai 3, Wien, Österreich (AIL – Angewandte Innovation Laboratory)


Political Science, Demokratie, Austerität, Griechenland, Athen, Weltfinanzkrise 2007–2008


If representative democracy is supposed to be channeling citizens’ policy preferences into governmental institutions in an effective manner, what does Greece, eight years in crisis, teach us about the capacity of European Union (EU) citizens to change the policy direction of their community? Since 2009, Greeks have gone six times to the polls (five legislative elections and one referendum), each and every time rejecting the austerity policies their governments pursue, namely deep cuts in social spending (e.g. pensions, health system) combined, among others, with increase of taxes, liberalization and privatization of several market sectors. These and other measures of the same spirit constitute the terms of the loan agreement (bailout) signed by successive Greek cabinets, including most recently, the ‘unholy’ coalition of radicals on the left and right (SYRIZA with ANEL). However, the parties currently in government, as well as those before them, were all elected based on the promise to renegotiate (or even tear apart) the so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Greece and its creditors. Implementing these measures is the condition for remaining in the Eurozone. The lecture will discuss the economic, social, and political situation in Greece (e.g. unemployment, emigration and brain-drain, radicalization, distrust of political institutions) in light of the difficulties faced by EU citizens to voice their concerns in an “ever closer Union” and the broader challenges faced by democracy in the era of global financial capitalism. Zoe Lefkofridi is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at the Dept. of Political Science at the University of Salzburg. Her teaching includes courses on comparative politics, the causes and consequences of unequal political representation, and national political parties’ organizational and policy responses to European integration. Zoe Lefkofridi’s research draws on normative and positive theories of democracy to empirically examine political representation in Europe. Currently, she participates in two research projects dealing with the effects of electoral systems. The guest lecture is part of the proseminar “Die Ausstellung als Medium” (Department Cultural Studies, Institute for Art Sciences and Art Education).


Lefkofridi, Zoe



  • Franz-Josefs-Kai 3, Wien, Österreich
  • Franz-Josefs-Kai 3
  • 1010 Wien
  • Österreich

Associated Media Files

  • Image
Published By: Florian Bettel | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 07 February 2024, 11:56 | Edit Date: 07 February 2024, 11:56