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Rahel Suess.jpg

Photo: Olivier Pol Michel

Rahel Süß is a political scientist and philosopher at The New Institute. She is exploring desirable democratic and digital futures and is working on a new paradigm of experimental democracy for the digital age.



As a dedicated writer and speaker, I explore desirable futures. How does the future come into being? How can societies open themselves to meet the demands of tomorrow? I explore these questions through the lenses of political philosophy, social theory, and social psychology.


Driven by a passion for understanding the conditions for social change, I embarked on an extensive journey. Growing up in Germany's Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet), I spent almost two years in Bucharest after graduating from high school, where I worked in a social center. From there, I got involved in various political struggles and organizations. This journey eventually led me to found the journal "engagée," drawing inspiration from Jean-Paul Sartre's concept of "littérature engagée".


Throughout my journey, I pursued studies in Political Science, achieving distinctions in my Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD degrees. I also graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, achieving distinction. From 2015 to 2021, I taught courses at the University of Vienna on topics such as democracy and digital politics. My interest in these areas led me to take up visiting and research positions in the USA, London, and Berlin, including at Duke University's Literature Program, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, and the  Humboldt-University of Berlin. My work received support from various scholarships and fellowships.

How do desirable futures come into being?

Rahel Süß über Politische Theorie - Jung & Naiv: Folge 549
Freiheit & Demokratie neu denken? Rahel Süß und Richard David Precht auf der Utopie-Konferenz 2022
Utopie-Konferenz 2022 / Vier Tage. Vier Fragen: Mit Rahel süß und Claudine Nierth (2/4)
Das Gespenst der Grünen Demokratie - PCS Mai 2022
Rahel Süß - THE NEW INSTITUTE Fellow Series
What is digital democracy?
Werkleitz Festival Stream (EN) "The Revenge of the Real  Politics for a Post Pandemic World"


Experimental democracy as a future-opening democracy

At the heart of my work is the concept of experimental democracy. Experimentation defines a future-opening practice that is essential for democratic politics. Political action means experimenting. It is the freedom to experiment that characterizes a lively democracy in the digital age. I argue that promoting a political culture centered around democratic experimentation is crucial for successfully revitalizing democracy and addressing today's pressing challenges.



BA in Philosophy, University of Vienna,  2023 (with distinction)

Specialisation: Philosophy of Technology and Media Philosophy


Dr. phil., Political Science, University of Vienna,  2020 (with distinction)

Specialisation: Democratic Theory, History of Political Ideas, and Digital Politics


Duke University, North Carolina, 8-12/2019

Visiting Student

Franklin Humanities Institute & Literature Program (sponsor Michael Hardt)


Queen Mary University of London, 6/2018 - 1/2019

Visiting Student

School of Politics and International Relations (sponsor Lasse Thomassen)


University of Westminster, London, 1/2017 - 3/2019

Visiting Student

Centre for the Studies of Democracy (sponsor Chantal Mouffe & Paulina Tambanaki)

MA in Political Science, University of Vienna,  2014 (with distinction)

Specialisation: International Politics and Political Theory

Erasmus-Program, Charles University, Prague (10/2013-4/2014)

BA in Political  Science, University of Vienna,  2012 (with distinction)

Specialisation: International Politics and Political Theory


The New Institute, Hamburg 02/2024 - Current


The New Institute (2nd Host), Hamburg 10/2022 - 01/2024

Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow

The Future of Democracy Program

Humboldt-University of Berlin (1st Host), 2/2022 - 01/2024

Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Social Science, Theory of Politics


London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), 3-8/2022

Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar

Government Department (sponsor Lea Ypi)


Humboldt-University of Berlin, 2/2021-8/2022

Founding Director of the Data Politics Lab

Department of Social Science, Theory of Politics


King's College London, 9/2021 - 1/2022

Visiting Scholar

Department of Digital Humanities (sponsor Paolo Gerbaudo)

Founder, Co-Editor & Graphic Designer engagée Journal - London, Wien, Berlin, 2012 - 2022


Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, 2015-2021; seminars include the history of political ideas, democratic theory, and digital transformation.


Humboldt-University of Berlin, 4-7/2020

Research Fellow

Center for Humanities and Social Change, Department of Philosophy

Goldsmiths University of London, 1-6/2020

Visiting Fellow

Department of Politics and International Relations (sponsor William Davies)

Project Coordinator, Economy for the Common Good, Vienna, 9/2011-7/2013

Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India, 6-12.2008

Volunteer Service, Social Center Sf. Lazar, Concordia, Bukarest, Rumania, 2006-2008


  • The New Institute Fellowship

  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Visiting research grant for the London School of Economics and Political Science

  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) Post-DocTrack Fellowship

  • Humanities & Social Change International Foundation Fellowship

  • University of Vienna Dissertation Fellowship (Abschlussstipendium)

  • Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD) Marietta Blau Dissertation Fellowship

  • University of Uppsala, Uppsala Forum Workshop-Grant

  • Rosa Luxemburg-Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

  • Rosa Luxemburg-Foundation Scholarship for postgraduate studies MA

  • University of Vienna, Accomplishment Awards (2013, 2014 & 2016)


Founder and Editorial Board Member, engagée Journal (until 2022)

Former reviewer activities: Polity Press, Routledge, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (ZPol), Philosophy & Social Criticism, Constellations, and Democratic Theory



University of Vienna

  • 2022 | What is digital democracy? (guest lecture)

  • 2021 | The Politics of the Future: Technology, Democracy and Resistance

  • 2020 | Power and Resistance in the Digital Constellation

  • 2019 | Digital Protest and the Political

  • 2016 – 2020 | The History of Political Ideas (20S, 19W, 18W, 18S, 17W, 17S, 16W)

  • 2018 | Radical Democracy and Municipal Movements

  • 2016 | Methods of Political Science

  • 2015 | Introduction to International Politics

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