Elzbieta Matynia

Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, and founding director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) at the New School for Social Research in New York. Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democracy and its challenges, gender and democratic projects, and the public sphere. In both her research and teaching she explores the arts as a site of social reflection and knowledge.

Her book, Performative Democracy (2009, Paradigm), examines a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens, and identifies the conditions for performativity in public life. Her An Uncanny Era (2013, Yale University Press) is a discussion on the precariousness of democracy, and early signs of its recent retreat in Central Europe. A Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in South Africa, she is currently working on a book on the emergence of democracy after periods of violence.

As director of TCDS, she has developed the international Democracy & Diversity Institutes for rigorous study and cross-cultural research on critical issues facing today’s world. Elzbieta is a member of the editorial board of Social Research.

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Born and educated in Poland, Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research where she directs the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies. Her work in political and cultural sociology focuses on democracy and its challenges, gender and democratic projects, and the public sphere. In both her research and teaching she explores the arts as a site of social reflection and knowledge. Her books include An Uncanny Era: Conversations between Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik (Yale University Press, May 2014), Performative Democracy (Paradigm 2009), Grappling with Democracy (SLON, 1996). A Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in South Africa, she is currently working on a book on the emergence of democracy after periods of violence.