The Idea of Christian Democracy in Modern Europe

Jan-Werner Müller is a Professor of Political Theory at Princeton University and has written extensively on ideology, memory and political thought in Twentieth Century Germany and Europe. His latest book is "Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe" (Yale University Press, 2011)"

Abstract: "In my book Contesting Democracy, I made a case for understanding Christian Democracy as central to the creation of the post-war European order. Even those who accepted this argument often insisted that Christian Democracy, especially in its Catholic variety, has no real tradition of political thought, and that it was just a matter of constructing strong parties and movements. In this lecture, I want to suggest that there are distinctive patterns of how Catholics in particular have imagined some kind of accommodation with democracy. In particular, they have pursued what one might term three strategies: the creation of a Christian demos, a demos constrained by Christian institutions, and Christian Democratic party politics. I will also hint at larger normative lessons from this history, especially for thinking about the relationship between Islam and democracy."