In this Democracy Paper, Regina Kreide traces the different ways in which social inequality can, and is, undermining democratic politics. Kreide breaks down inequality into three dimensions—growing economic cleavages, deepening political segregation, and cultural invisibility. These trends combine to diminish many citizens’ faith in the future and open the door to populist appeals. The author argues that reversing democratic decline and ultimately inequality itself will take more thoroughgoing collective action beyond piecemeal reforms.
Regina Kreide is a professor of political theory at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. She studied sociology, political science, and philosophy at the University of Cologne, Goethe University in Frankfurt, and at Columbia University in New York. She was a visiting professor at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, UAM Iztapalapa, Mexico City, the New School for Social Research in New York, and University of Washington, Seattle. She is one of the directors of the Collaborative Research Center “Dynamics of Security” (SFB) and has published widely in international journals on global justice, human rights, international law, and democracy. Her most recent book publications include the The Habermas Handbook (edited with Hauke Brunkhorst and Cristina Lafont; Columbia University Press, 2016), Transformation of Democracy: Crisis, Protest, and Legitimation (edited with Robin Celikates and Tilo Wesche; Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and Die verdrängte Demokratie Essays zur Politischen Theorie (Nomos, 2016). Her book Global (In-)Justice? will be published in 2017.