All over the world, liberal democracy is getting turned upside-down. Autocratic leaders are using populist appeals, the partisan media and the power of their offices to short-circuit thoughtful deliberation and political consensus. They flout the rule of law, unleash the police on their own people, suppress dissent and attack voting rights. So what can you do about it?
Our show is a project of UVA’s Deliberative Media Lab. It’s produced with support from the UVA Democracy Initiative and the College of Arts and Sciences, and syndicated in coordination with WTJU’s Virginia Audio Collective. We’re also a member of The Democracy Group, a podcast network that exposes the cracks and fissures in America’s democracy and equips concerned citizens with the tools to do something about it.
In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Congress moved to regulate internet content and gave tech companies wide latitude, setting the stage for a Wild West of data flow — along with abuses of privacy. UVA law professor Danielle Citron says it’s time to rein in cyberspace. Read more >
Nonviolent protests have taken down dictators and protected civil rights. But very often they fail instead. Renowned Serbian activist Srdja Popovic outlines the key characteristics of successful movements. Read more >
Degrowth. In classical economic circles the idea is heretical. For economic anthropologist Jason Hickel, dialing down production in rich countries — and canceling debt for poor countries — is the only path to real democracy and, by the way, saving the planet. Read more >
If people aren’t counted in a representative democracy, it’s as if they don’t exist. And for politicians or parties banking on minority rule, that’s just fine. Until they meet Dale Ho — who defends citizens’ voting rights for the American Civil Liberties Union. Read more >
Last summer, young people were at the forefront of demonstrations for racial justice in America. In many ways, they were modeling democratic values for their educators. But can their teachers learn from them? UVA president Jim Ryan offers some insight on this and other tough questions. Read more >
In a tattered corner of rural Kentucky, Eduardo Porter came upon a puzzle. The New York Times journalist saw that while Harlan County was benefiting more than most places from federal tax dollars, its overwhelmingly white residents distrusted the government and feared minorities. Why? Read more >
Denying ecological devastation in the Amazon, ridiculing opponents, and playing down the coronavirus pandemic are all part of the Bolsonaro toolkit. Sound familiar? Media studies scholar David Nemer takes us on a haunting tour of his native country’s political landscape. Read more >
Despite new regulations, Facebook groups and Twitter bots are still luring naive users into a world of suspicion, lies and terrorism, says social media researcher Renée DiResta. Read more >
Remember Silvio Berlusconi? Sex scandals, shady deals and a cult-like following marked the Italian prime minister’s time in office. NYU historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat breaks down a political playbook with a long history and continued appeal. Read more >
S2 E0. Preview: Season Two
After such a wacky month in America, is there any question democracy is still in danger? Yeah, we didn’t think so either. Will and Siva are back with Season Two and a whole new lineup of guests.
Much as the nation was stunned by the violence and mayhem at the U.S. Capitol in January, the assault was not unprecedented or unpredictable. Siva and Will — together with their University of Virginia students — reflect on what happened. Read more >
We were worried.
Relive why. After all, those demons are all still with us.
In the works
Coming up on Democracy in Danger, we’ll have interviews with climate journalist Kendra Pierre-Louis, about environmental justice, and historian Gema Kloppe-Santamaría, on the state of democracy in Mexico and across Latin America. Plus more in production: on India, Burma, Hong Kong and the dark history of citizenship-stripping in the United States.
Democracy in Danger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This license covers all audio available on these pages or directly from our RSS feed.