Centre for Studies of Democracy, Civil Society and Political Elites

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Formation of the Center responds to political changes related to the long-term political democratisation in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, and to the growing challenges to liberal democracy and the EU, particularly from surges of nationalism and populist authoritarianism. These developments call for more systematic and coordinated studies, both theoretical and diagnostic-descriptive. The main aim of the Centre is inspiring and coordinating such studies with particular attention paid to the key institutional foundations of democratic rule, as well as the main political actors shaping those institutions: political leaders and elites, as well as the social initiatives of civil society. It is also hoped that such studies also help in improving the effectiveness and quality of governance. The main topics include social (institutional, elite/leadership and cultural-communication) foundations of ruling styles and political regimes, as well as the main challenges and threats to liberal democracy coming from extreme nationalists, authoritarian populists and mass media manipulations. The Centre collaborates with similar institutions in Poland and abroad, as well as political groups, local government organisations and NGOs.



  • The Center is a meeting place for the broad Collegium Civitas community. It brings together faculty, students, international scholars and intellectuals and others with interests in understandings challenges to liberal democracy. The Centre recognizes that responding to current and future challenges requires engagement beyond the social sciences and promote dialogue and collaboration with practitioners and activists.
  • The Centre undertakes research that increases understanding of social changes that are occurring in Central and Eastern Europe, promoting an interdisciplinary environment that embraces scholars from different disciplines of social sciences.
  • It offers a rich program of activities including seminars, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and conferences.
  • The important part of its activity is collaboration with universities, think tanks and civil society organizations from the East and Central European countries.


The Management and Team:

Director – prof. Jan Pakulski

MA (Warsaw), PhD (ANU), is Professor Emeritus at the University of Tasmania, Australia, Visiting Professor at Collegium Civitas, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Affiliate of the Stanford Centre on Poverty and Inequality. He is the (co-)editor and (co-)author of 10 books and over 120 scholarly articles on elites, democratization, multiculturalism, post-communism, social movements, and social inequality.

Deputy Director – Robert Sobiech, PhD

Sociologist, director of the Collegium Civitas Public Policy Center. He lectured at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences of the University of Warsaw and the National School of Public Administration, where he was the head of international cooperation and the director’s adviser.

His scientific interests relate to politics, public relations and communication in the public sector, public affairs and public opinion. Author of over 40 publications and analyzes prepared for central and local government administration, non-governmental organizations and international organizations such as OECD, UNDP, UNDCP European Social Dialogue Committee in Central Government Administrations.

Chairman of the Advisory Board – prof. Grzegorz Ekiert

Grzegorz Ekiert is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University, Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES), and Senior Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. At CES, he co-chairs the Seminar on Democracy – Past, Present, Future.

Ekiert’s research and teaching interests focus on comparative politics, regime change and democratization, civil society and social movements and East European politics and societies. His books include: Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements, co-editors Elizabeth J. Perry and Yan Xiaojun, (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Capitalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe: Assessing the Legacy of Communist Rule, co-editor Stephen Hanson, (Cambridge University Press 2003); Rebellious Civil Society. Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, co-authored with Jan Kubik, (University of Michigan Press 1999); The State Against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe, (Princeton University Press 1996). His papers have been published in numerous social science journals and edited volumes in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Katarzyna Maniszewska, PhD

Katarzyna Maniszewska received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Warsaw in 2005. Her research focuses on the history and development of political extremism and terrorism with particular emphasis on media coverage of terrorism. She is a member of the Scientific Board of the Terrorism Research Centre, lecturer and holds the position of Vice-Rector for International Relations at Collegium Civitas.

Dr. Maniszewska authored two books: “Terroryzm a media” (Wrocław, 2006; “Terrorism and the media”) and “Pionierzy terroryzmu europejskiego: Frakcja Czerwonej Armii” (Kraków, 2014; “Forerunners of the European terrorism: Red Army Faction”). Her academic publications include papers and book chapters devoted – among other issues – to the role of the media (incl. Internet and social media) in the strategies of terrorist organizations. In her papers she points out the significance of media-literacy and public education in enhancing the traditional counterterrorism measures.

Katarzyna Maniszewska has been working as an advisor and program manager at Polish and foreign NGOs, incl. the position of Program Director at the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. Dr. Maniszewska has an in-depth knowledge of the European Institutions gained during her work at the European Parliament in Brussels (2006-2009).


Katarzyna Iwińska, PhD

A sociologist by training, Vice-Rector for Scientific Research at Collegium Civitas. She is a graduate of the Graduate School of Social Research at the PAN Institute of Philosophy as well as the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Applied Social Sciences (ISNS). She is currently a lecturer at the Collegium Civitas Department of Sociology with a doctorate on the subjective actions of individuals. Having lectured at the Warsaw University of Technology’s Department of Environmental Engineering from 2003 to 2013, she has, since 2013, become Vice-Rector for Scientific Research at Collegium Civitas. She is the author and/or editor of, among others, the following publications: Budowanie partnerstw lokalnych: Razem dla Regionu! (Building Local Partnerships: Together for the Region!, 2009); Konsultacje społeczne wokół inwestycji infrastrukturalnych (Public Consultations regarding Infrastructure Investments, 2010); Profesjonalny menedżer w NGO (The Professional Manager in an NGO, 2011, 2012); and Być i działać w społeczeństwie: dyskusje wokół teorii podmiotowego sprawstwa (To Be and to Act in Society: the Debate over Theory of Subjective Agency, 2015). She is interested in problems of mobilization of civil society, the activities of NGOs in Poland, research in local communities and sociological aspects of environmental protection.

Expert in the following fields for the media: civil society, the participation of citizens in public life, non-governmental organizations, social subjectivity, research into local communities and social activities, environmental awareness, sustainable development, sociology of social conflicts (especially in environmental protection), mobilization of civil society, conflict resolution, and sociology of group processes.


Prof. Paweł Matuszewski

Paweł Matuszewski is an associate professor (PhD with habilitation) at Collegium Civitas University (Warsaw, Poland). In 2007 he received a Masters Degree in sociology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University (Warsaw, Poland), in 2010 he defended his PhD dissertation (sociology) at Collegium Civitas and in 2020 he habilitated (sociology) at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University. From 2011 to 2020, Matuszewski was an assistant professor at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University and the head of the Department of Political Sociology (2014-2020). He is the chairman of the Warsaw Department of Polish Sociological Association (2018-2021).

Matuszewski has expertise in public opinion, political communication, political behaviour, social media, digital behaviour and opinion mining. In his works, he focuses on mechanisms that explain social phenomena. Matuszewski is an experienced researcher who participated in 18 research projects in cooperation with academia, business, trade unions, NGOs, and political parties. He is skilled in qualitative and quantitative methodology, data mining, opinion mining, statistics (frequentist and Bayesian approach), and machine learning. His research activity is funded by the National Science Centre under the grant agreement no. 2019/03/X/HS6/00882.


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