Democratic Debate 2023 @ Bremen

The BIGSSS-CSS Summer School on Democratic Debate takes place July 3 – 12, 2023 at the campus of the Constructor University (Bremen, Germany). 

This 10-day summer school operates as a research incubator. Besides keynotes and expert lectures, participants and experts from ten teams will be working on specific research projects. Each team consists of three to four junior researchers and two senior experts as project leaders, ideally one with expertise in CSS methods and the other with topical expertise. The goal is to train junior researchers in CSS methods and give them hands-on expertise in a research project on the topic of the democratic debate using CSS methods. Each team works through the whole research process with the aim to prepare a manuscript for publication. Team research started at the school often continues afterwards and reaches the publication stage. The output of former schools has been published as an edited volume and in scientific journals.

Topic: Democratic Debate

We expect democracy to enable us to utilize collective intelligence such that our collective decisions build and enhance our common welfare. In return, we accept their distributive and normative consequences. Collective decisions are produced by voting and/or dialogue. Voting procedures are those that somehow aggregate individual preferences and judgments. Individual preferences and judgments change as their underlying attitudes, values, and opinions change through discourse, discussion, and deliberation. In societies, these dynamics go beyond the scope of the individual – giving rise to emergent macroscopic phenomena, like consensus formation, bipolarization, issue alignment, and collective radicalization. Some of these dynamics may undermine democratic pluralism and may destabilize democratic institutions. 

Computational Methods

The projects involve data-driven modeling of opinion dynamics and democratic decisions using methods of data exploration, simulation, or prediction. They contribute to a deeper understanding of democratic debate and democratic decisions or look into the causes and consequences of political (dis)agreement. All projects have some relation to data and methods of computational social science such as social-network analysis, natural language processing, agent-based modeling and simulation, analysis of digital trace data or machine learning.

Related Event

This edition of the summer school is followed by the three-day Interdisciplinary Workshop on Opinion Dynamics and Collective Decisions taking place at the same venue. Please visit for more information.