Dr. Dannica Fleuß

Postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of Political Science, in particular Political Theory

Dannica Fleuß
Visiting address
Building H1
Holstenhofweg 85
22043 Hamburg
Postal address
Fakultät für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Postfach 70 08 22
22008 Hamburg


Academic Positions

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

2016 until present, Political Science with a focus on political theory, Helmut-Schmidt-University, Hamburg

Associate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

2018 until present

Link to profile of Dannica Fleuß



2018 until present, Political Theory, University of Hamburg

2015-2016 Political Theory, Institute of Political Science, University of Heidelberg

2014-2017 Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Heidelberg


PhD Thesis, Political Science • 2016 • University of Heidelberg, Germany

Thesis: „Prozeduren, Rechte, Demokratie – das legitimatorische Potential von Verfahren für politische Systeme.“

“The Normative Legitimacy of Democracies. On the Limits of Proceduralism.”

PhD awarded with the highest distinction (summa cum laude).

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Michael Haus, PD Dr. Ulrich Thiele

Master of Arts, Philosophy and Political Science • 2012 • University of Heidelberg, Germany

Thesis: On the debate concerning the ontological status of qualitative mental states between Frank Jackson and David Lewis.

Master’s degree awarded with the highest distinction.

National University of Ireland, Galway • 2010

University of Wuppertal, Certificate in Ancient Greek • 2006



Political Studies Association (UK)

Expert Group for Participatory and Deliberative Democracy (PSA)

AK Hochschullehre, DVPW [Expert Group for Teaching in Political Science]

DemocracyNet https://democracynet.eu/people/member-profiles/

Honorary Positions:

Postdoctoral Representative, Hamburg Research Academy (HRA)

Representative in the faculty’s committee for study regulations, Helmut-Schmidt-University Hamburg

Theories of political legitimacy, theoretical and empirical research on deliberative systems, measurement of deliberative performance, political philosophy of liberalism, Kantianism, and proceduralism, political cultural research, the relationship between deliberative theory and post-structuralist thought.

PhD Dissertation:

“Prozeduren, Rechte, Demokratie. Das legitimatorische Potential von Verfahren für politische Systeme.”
Dannica Fleuß (2017). Available online: http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/23203/.

Journal Articles:

“Politische Theorie anwendungsbezogen lehren. Lehrende zwischen normativer Zurückhaltung und kritischer Stellungnahme”
Fleuß, Dannica (2018). Politische Vierteljahresschrift. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11615-018-0133-5

“Four Parameters for Measuring Democratic Deliberation: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges and How to Respond.”
Dannica Fleuß, Karoline Helbig, Gary S. Schaal (2018). In: Politics and Governance, 6(1), pp. 11-21.

“Die Wahrheit über Postfaktizität”
Gary S. Schaal, Dannica Fleuß, Sebastian Dumm (2017). In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 44-45/2017, pp. 31-38.

Working Papers and Blog contributions:

“Measuring the Embeddedness of Democratic Innovations and Representative Democracy with a Systemic Framework. The degree of transmissions as an indicator for the problem-solving potential of democratic innovations.”
Dannica Fleuß, Karoline Helbig (2018). Presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions 2018, University of Nicosia.

“Measuring Democracy in the Age of Digitalization. Theoretical Issues, Methodological Concerns, and Exemplary Solutions.”
Gary S. Schaal, Karoline Helbig, Dannica Fleuß (2017). Available online: https://ecpr.eu/Events/PaperDetails.aspx?PaperID=37051&EventID=96)

“Gemeinsames Gedankenexperimentieren in der Hochschullehre.“
Dannica Fleuß (2017), blog article on teaching political theory at university level. Available online: http://www.hochschullehre-politik.de/2017/06/19/gemeinsames-gedankenexperimentieren-in-der-hochschullehre/

Panels organized:

“Civic Virtue in Participatory Spaces: Reappraising Citizenship after the “Systemic Turn“,
International Conference of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group, PSA: “Participatory Spaces in Perspective”, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London, September 5-7, 2018. (with William Smith, Chinese University of Hongkong)

Presentations and Guest lectures:

„Politisch sensible normative Fragen diskutieren — aber wie? Politische Theorie in Deutschland und Tansania lehren: ein Erfahrungsbericht aus dem interkulturellen Vergleich.“  [How to Address Disputed Normative Claims in German and Tanzanian Teaching Settings: An Intercultural Comparison] Presentation, Congress AK Hochschullehre (DVPW), University of Münster, February 26th, 2019.

„Different Differences: How to Adress Cultural Diversity, Inter-Individual Variances, and Conceptual Blind Spots in Researching Understandings of Democracy.“  Presentation, Panel „Configurations of Democracy“, Three Country Congress, ETH Zürich, February 14th, 2019. (with Alexander Weiß)
“Women in Academia. Theory, Perception, Reality – and Action!” Guest Lecture, University of Dar es Salaam, December 14th, 2018.

“Evaluating Deliberative Procedures from a Systemic Perspective. Different Participatory Arenas, Different Deliberative Quality?” Presentation, Workshop “Political Online Participation and its Effects: Theory, Measurement & Results”, Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy, University of Düsseldorf, November 20th, 2018. (with Katharina Esau)

“Die vielen Wahrheiten Algorithmen-basierter Interpretation. ‘Die Wahrheit über Postfaktizität‘ dekonstruiert.“ [The Truth about Post-Truth. Deconstructing an Algorithm-based Discourse Analysis] Presentation, Workshop “„Was bedeutet Interpretieren? Interpretative Verfahren in der Politikforschung“, Leuphana-University of Lüneburg, November 16th, 2018. (with Sebastian Dumm and Gary S. Schaal)

“Measuring Democratic Deliberation at the Macro Level: Addressing Conceptual and Methodological Challenges with a Systemic Framework.” Guest Lecture, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Centre for the Study of Democracy (ZDEMO), November 13th, 2018.

„Politische Theorie praxisnah lehren: im Spannungsfeld von politischer Neutralität und normativer Positionierung“. [Teaching Normative Political Theory at the University Level: How to Balance Normative Modesty and Adopting Political Positions] Presentation, Panell “Demokratie als Norm? Perspektiven für die politikwissenschaftliche Hochschullehre und die politische Bildung“, organized by Sektion Politikwissenschaft und Politische Bildung / AK Hochschullehre (DVPW), Scientific Congress „Grenzen der Demokratie / Frontiers of Democracy“, University of Frankfurt, September 25-28, 2018.

“Dystopia, Utopia, Realism? Epistemological Challenges of Evaluating Democratic Quality in a Digitalized World and How to Address Them.” Presentation at the annual Internet, Politics, Policy-Conference, University of Oxford, September 20th, 2018. (with Gary S. Schaal)

“Verfahren, Rechte, Demokratie. Grenzen prozeduralistischer Legitimitätskonzeptionen“. [Procedures, Rights, Democracy. On the Limits of Proceduralism] Presentation, Berlin Social Science Center, Research Unit „Democracy and Democratization“, September 11th, 2018.

“Empathy, Experience, and Citizen Virtues: Opening the Black Box for Systemic Deliberative Theory with Liberal Irony?” Paper presented at the International Conference of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group, PSA: “Participatory Spaces in Perspective”, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London, September 5-7, 2018.

“The Embeddedness of Deliberative Procedures – Addressing Deliberation and Its Impacts with a Systemic Framework“. Presentation, Expert Workshop on Deliberation & Multi-Stakeholder Platforms. Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, September 5th, 2018.

„An Integrated Research Framework for the Analysis of Understandings of Democracy“. Presentation, Writer´s Conference at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin,
organized by the DVPW-Working Group Democracy Research. Measuring Understanding of Democracy:Discussing Solutions for Methodological Fallacies August 20-21, 2018. (with Gary S. Schaal, Christoph Deppe, Fränze Wilhelm & Kelly Lancaster)

Inauthentic Political Communication: The Case of Post-Truth Statements. A Framework for Categorizing Hazy Concepts and Evaluating Contemporary Political Developments.
ECPR General Conference 2018, University of Hamburg, August 23rd, 2018.

Arguing for Deliberation without Ultimate Justification: Why We Should Decide to Be Deliberative Democrats.
Seminar Session, Institute for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, August 14th, 2018.
(Abstract: https://www.governanceinstitute.edu.au/events/centre-for-deliberative-democracy-and-global-governance-seminar/553/arguing-for-deliberation-without-ultimate-justification-why-we-should-decide-to-be-deliberative-democrats)

„The Integrity of Deliberative Procedures – A Research Agenda for Measuring Deliberative Quality with a Systemic Framework”,
IPSA World Congress 2018, Brisbane, July 22nd, 2018.

“Assessing the Embeddedness of Democratic Innovations with a Systemic Framework. A Measurement Approach for Transmissions”, Centre for Deliberative Democracy, University of Canberra, Methods Workshop “Assessing Deliberation”, July 18th, 2018.

“Stability, Legitimacy, and Support for Political Systems in Multicultural Societies. Approaching the Ptolemaic Dynasty.“ (German title: “Stabilität, Legitimität und Anerkennung politischer Herrschaft in multikulturellen Kontexten. Das Beispiel der ptolemäischen Dynastie.“ Presentation given at the University of Thessaloniki (Interdisciplinary conference funded by DAAD), June 1st 2018. (With Simeon Tzonev)

“Assessing the Embeddedness of Democratic Innovations with a Systemic Framework. A Measurement Approach for Transmissions”
ECPR Joint Sessions in Nicosia, April 14th,, 2018. (with Karoline Helbig).

“Communicative Power and Security Challenges Posed by Digitalization”
(German Title: “Projektion von Kommunikationsmacht. Sicherheitspolitische Herausforderungen forcierter Digitalisierung”) – Führungsakademie (Bundeswehr Command and Staff College), Hamburg, March 13th, 2018. (with Gary S. Schaal).

“Normativity in Teaching Political Science”
(German Title: “Normativität in der Hochschullehre”) –  Annual Conference “Themengruppe Hochschullehre”, German Association for Political Science (DVPW), University of Hamburg, February 26th, 2018.

“Citizen Epistemology and Citizen Support in Complex Societies”
(German Title: “Die epistemische Situation der Bürger unter Bedingungen der Komplexität und ihre Unterstützung der liberalen Demokratie – zwei demokratietheoretische Perspektiven”) – University of Heidelberg, November 16th, 2017.

“Measuring Democracy in the Age of Digitalization”
ECPR General Conference 2017 in Oslo, September 7th, 2017. (with Gary S. Schaal, Karoline Helbig).

“Measuring Democratic Deliberation. Theoretical Challenges and Methodological Pitfalls”
University of Zürich/NCCR Democracy, June 1st, 2017. (with Gary S. Schaal, Karoline Helbig).

“Political Culture’s Impact on Democratic Quality – The Political Elite’s Perspective”
(German Title: “Der Beitrag der Politischen Kultur für das Funktionieren demokratischer Systeme aus der Sicht politischer Eliten – ein diskursanalytischer Ansatz”) — Conference „Politische Kulturforschung reloaded“ (German Association for Political Science, AK Political Culture), University of Wuppertal, April 5th, 2017. (with Gary S. Schaal).

“Thought Experiments in the Lecture Hall”
(German Title: “Kollaboratives Gedankenexperimentieren im Hörsaal”) — Annual Conference Themengruppe Hochschullehre, German Association for Political Science (DVPW), RWTH Aachen, March 10th, 2017.

“‘Politics of Emotions’ – One Answer to the Current Crisis of Democratic Disengagement?”
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin — Colloquium Center for the History of Emotions, January 24th, 2017. (with Gary S. Schaal).

“Trust, Multitude, and the Public”
(German Title: “Vertrauen, Multitude und das Ende der allgemeinen Öffentlichkeit”) — Conference Demokratie Revisited. Theorien — Befunde — Perspektiven“, Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing am Starnberger See, October 30th, 2016. (with Gary S. Schaal).



Conceptual and Methodological Foundations of Measuring Democratic Performance

Research Seminar on Measuring Democratic Performance

Theories of Political Legitimacy



Epistemic Democracy

Social Contract Theories

History of Political Ideas

Theory and Practice of Human Rights

Scientific Writing Workshop

Kantian Political and Ethical Theory

Introduction to Utilitarianism

Fundamentals of Political Theory

Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan”

Jürgen Habermas’ Discourse Ethics


Selected Tutorials:

Fundamentals of Political Science

Contemporary Political Theory

Contractualist Political Theory

Formal Logic

Philosophy of Mind

Theories of Parliamentarianism

Ancient and Medieval Political Theory




Measuring macro level deliberation with a systemic framework:

Democratic deliberation is not only relevant for democratic theorists. Increasingly, measures of democracy try to integrate this fluid and emergent phenomenon and attempt to examine the deliberative performance of states. Up until now, there have been but few approaches that assess not only the quality within deliberative fora, but also the connection between them and their integration in the political system as a whole. On the basis of the deliberative systems approach, Dannica Fleuß, Karoline Helbig, and Gary Schaal developed four “parameters” for the measurement of deliberation at the macro level.

Challenges for Liberal Democracies in Complex Societies and “Alternative Political Virtues” (Habilitation/Book Project):

The research project addresses the reasons for the decline in democratic quality in the context of increasing political and social complexity and develops strategies to cope with the respective political challenges. It argues that social and political complexity is a major context variable for explaining the erosion of citizen support for democratic regimes. To understand the erosion of democratic support in complex societies, it is crucial to take into consideration the “epistemic situation” citizens are in, i.e. the degree to which citizens are able to understand relevant circumstances, facts, and causalities.

Accordingly, the project consists of a combination of approaches from democracy theory and political cultural research: The relationship between citizens’ support for democracy and democratic quality is established by employing concepts of political cultural research. The relationship between citizens’ epistemic situation and democracy support is conceptualized with the help of concepts developed by theories of democracy. The strategy proposed to address current democratic deficits develops a concept of political virtues that supplements and expands contemporary theories of democracy by including the empirical findings of the project.


Research Assistant, Research Project “Wie Zentral ist die Mitte? Mittelschichtsdiskurse und wohlfahrtsstaatlicher Politikwandel im internationalen Vergleich“

(Funding DFG, directed by Prof. Michael Haus)


Research Assistant, Research Project “Regulation and Self-Regulation”

(Field of Focus 4 at the University of Heidelberg).


Research Assistant, Research Project “Problemdiskurse in Städten”

(Funding DFG, directed by Prof. Michael Haus).


Research Assistant, Interdisciplinary Project “Human Dignity”

(Institute for Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg).



Letzte Änderung: 8. April 2019