Subproject II

Archive – Refiguring Forgotten Institutions

Archive intends to create an archive of institutions that are largely neglected in current debates on the crisis of democracy. The goal is to make use of the global history of political ideas in order to carve out those functions of historically ‘forgotten’ institutions that might prove useful for prefiguring democratic futures. Contrary to the few monothetic proposals of potentially democratizing institutions, a large variety of institutional alternatives will be proposed in order to maximize the resources available for widening the horizon of democratic imagination. The historical corpus of institutions is systematized around three focal points: Lost institutions (institutions that disappeared or are widely overlooked today), utopian institutions (institutional proposals that were unrealized) and reversed institutions (institutions whose actual application differs from the intention at the moment of inception).

The subproject is led by Sara Gebh, PhD.


The Subproject investigates three types of 'forgotten' institutions:

Lost Institutions

Historical institutions that have effectively disappeared but provide lessons for the present.

Utopian Institutions

Institutional proposals that have not come to fruition, found both in utopian literature and in political proposals.

Reversed institutions

Historically obscured, yet potentially democratic aspects of existing institutions that, when brought to the fore, will cast an entirely different light on this institution.