Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: A Questioned Democracy

The free world is facing its greatest challenge since the fall of the Berlin wall: the questioning of liberal democracy. The purpose of the knowledge environment A Questioned Democracy is to tackle this societal challenge – to make sure that one of humanity’s greatest achievements, democracy, lives on.

Our society is facing great challenges within a number of different fields. Meeting these societal challenges with knowledge in creative environments that integrate education, research, and collaboration – knowledge environments – is something that permeates Linnaeus University’s vision and work.

Seven of the university’s knowledge environments have been appointed Linnaeus Knowledge Environment. These focus on the fields of education, materials, democracy, water, digitalisation, environment, and health. They all work interdisciplinary and link together subjects, departments, and faculties in order to get a broad take on the societal challenges within each field.

Societal challenge: A questioned democracy

Liberal democracy is a common foundation for many countries. However, its ability to handle problems in society challenges is being increasingly questioned. More and more countries are moving in an undemocratic direction. Authoritarian values and parties are gaining ground. Alternative news outlets are challenging journalism of quality. Technology open ups for democratic interaction, but also makes it easy to spread fake news.

The vision for the knowledge environment A Questioned Democracy is to contribute with ideas, meeting places, and new knowledge to meet the challenges the Swedish democracy is facing today, with the aim to make democratic values more well-anchored among the citizens.

Learn more about our research, courses and programmes, and collaboration below.



The knowledge environment A Questioned Democracy departs its extensive research from three central perspectives: representation, media, and citizen.

  • The representation perspective: Increased polarization and support for authoritarian values; problems of representation, for example antagonism between decision-makers and citizens and corruption.
  • The media perspective: The conditions for public dialogue and the reporting of political news.
  • The citizen perspective: Alienation and economic vulnerability as obstacles to inclusion in society and participation in the democracy.


The researchers that take part in A questioned democracy are active teachers who integrate their research in their teaching at Linnaeus University. On all academic levels, the teachers from the knowledge environment have developed new and revised established courses that problematise a questioned democracy. In connection to our students’ internships we collaborate with authorities and companies.

Management team

Magnus Hagevi is manager and Kersti Forsberg assistant manager for A Questioned Democracy.