Research Project Series

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The Civic Constellation Project


Civic Constellation III: Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Anti-Liberalism

Reference Code: PGC2018-093573-B-I00 (2019–2022)

Civic Constellation II: Debating Democracy and Rights

Reference Code: FFI2014-52703-P (2015–2018)

The Civic Constellation: A Conceptual and Argumentative Study of the Democratic Experience

Reference Code: FFI2011-23388 (2012–2014)

Democracy is, indissolubly, a form of government and a political ideal. It is not possible to understand one without the other, but each one has different theoretical assumptions and practical implications. Ideals play a role in understanding real democracies. They orient practices and devise languages, justify actions and legitimize projects. Yet they are as contingent as the historical realizations of democracy they presumably inspire. Reversely, the practice of democracy influences, or can influence, the theory’s normative tenets.

Real democracies are discredited due to the oligarchic effects of party systems, but they are also criticized for being inefficient regimes, and for not being pluralist enough, participatory enough, deliberative enough. Yet hardly ever arguments are confronted with their normative assumptions, as if they were rationally justified. The project argues the need to critically recast them and to balance democratic theory’s normativism with a closer attention to history and politics.

Projects and Scientific Network

The Civic Constellation project series has provided the initial platform for the COST Action CA 16211 Reapprasing Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe (RECAST).

From 15 September 2017 to 14 September 2021, funded by the European Union Framework Programme Horizon 2020, RECAST has worked as a redistributive mechanism of networking resources and opportunities. Through its networking tools (management committee meetings, training schools, working group workshops, short-term scientific missions, communication and dissemination actions, and inclusiveness target countries conference grants), this scientific network has distributed more than 400 participation shares (being some members involved in several activities throughout the Action’s time span) among participants from 32 countries ( &

Contact Information

José María Rosales, jmrosales (at)

Manuel Toscano, mtoscano (at)

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

The Civic Constellation Project gratefully acknowledges Spain’s National Research Fund’s (Plan Estatal de I+D+i) financial support and the University of Málaga’s institutional assistance, as well as the cooperation with its International Partners. The information published in this webpage, which is intended to publicize the project’s activities, reflects the authors’ views, not their institutions’.

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