The Observatory for Political Conflict and Democracy (PolDem) is a platform that produces and houses data on protest events, election campaigns, and issue-specific public contestation covering a wide-range of European countries over a long period of time. The platform developed as an extension of previous as well as ongoing projects by the principal investigators Hanspeter Kriesi at the European University Institute, and Edgar Grande and Swen Hutter at the Center for Civil Society Research, a joint initiative by the WZB Social Science Center and Freie Universität Berlin. PolDem aims to update and disseminate data within the scientific community and wider public, and to provide users with the relevant documentation, codebooks, and tools to interpret the data.
The core of PolDem is based on data collection efforts in the following projects:
- National Political Change in a Globalizing World (NPW, 2002-2009): NPW was financed by the German Research Council (DFG) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) in an effort to study the emergence of a new integration-demarcation cleavage in six Northwestern European countries and across several political arenas.
- The Politicization of Europe (PolEU, 2009-2013): PolEU was financed by the DFG and focused on conflicts over European integration, a key issue linked to the newly emerging cleavage.
- Political Conflict in the Shadow of the Great Recession (POLCON, 2014-2019): The ERC advanced grant assessed the contemporary development of European democracies and the politicization of the European integration process in the shadow of the Great Recession among a larger set of European countries, closely linking the study of elections to the study of political protest.
- Lichtenberg Professorship in Political Sociology, Social Movements and Conflict (LICHTENBERG, 2018-): The first five years of the Lichtenberg Professorship at Freie Universität Berlin are funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. It systematically links research on protest politics and civil society with the analysis of political cleavages and the restructuration of conflict.
- Policy Crisis and Crisis Politics (SOLID, 2019-): The ongoing ERC synergy grant project aims to study the crises which have hit the EU in the last decade and seeks to understand how the severe crisis situation can coincide with resilience from the EU by building a coalition-centered approach.