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What science can do for democracy: a complexity science approach

Political scientists have conventionally assumed that achieving democracy is a one-way ratchet. Only very recently has the question of “democratic backsliding” attracted any research attention.

We argue that democratic instability is best understood with tools from complexity science. The explanatory power of complexity science arises from several features of complex systems. Their relevance in the context of democracy is discussed. Several policy recommendations are offered to help (re)stabilize current systems of representative democracy.


T. Eliassi-Rad, H. Farrell, D. Garcia, S. Lewandowsky, P. Palacios, D. Ross, D. Sornette, K. Thébault, K. Wiesner, What science can do for democracy: a complexity science approach, Humanities and Social Sciences Communications Vol 7, Art. no. 30 (2020)

Didier Sornette

David Garcia

Karoline Wiesner

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