Is Democracy Eroding? (2021–)

Kone Foundation is launching a funding programme that aims to increase our collective understanding of democracy and social justice and to bring new perspectives to common notions of democracy. In September 2021, the first thematic funding call in the programme will focus on projects that explore the connection between language and democracy.
Illustration: Marika Maijala

Globally, democracy is statistically more common than ever before, but the quality of many current democracies has been eroded by authoritarians, discrimination, the manipulation of electoral systems and restrictions of media freedom. The climate crisis is causing further social instability.  

Projects funded by the programme can address, for example, inclusion and everyday life: What are the mechanisms and practices of participation and encounter? How does language act as an obstacle, challenge, enabler or a reformer of democracy? Who can participate in democratic decision-making and how? What are the rights of other biological species, and who represents them in a democracy?  

The programme may cover the history, institutions and current status of democracy and the rule of law. What is the relationship of monopolies of violence to democracy, such as the military and the police? What is the current state of democracy in academic institutions, and what does its potential erosion mean for the future of research, as well as for our understanding of democracy? How is democracy present in the arts and private foundations? Finally, what does the future of democracy look like?  

The programme will include funding calls for projects based on research but can combine research with art, journalism and/or activism. Longer projects lasting up to four years are preferred. The programme will include opportunities to bring together people working on similar topics.  


Thematic grant call 2021: Language, Power and Democracy