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International Conference of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association

The Centre for the Study of Democracy will host the International Conference of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association.

The conference features:

  • 20 panels
  • three roundtables
  • a book launch
  • two keynote events with Carole Pateman (Cardiff University), Michael Saward (University of Warwick), and Graham Smith (University of Westminster)

Contemporary politics is characterised by a variety of participatory spaces within and outside state institutions. These spaces have been classified in various ways such as invited, claimed or closed. The study of democratic innovations is rich in empirical findings on invited spaces organised by state agencies all around the world, like mini publics, participatory budgets, and online petitions. Research on new social movements, citizens’ initiatives, and unconventional forms of participation like flash mobs, online protest, and hacktivism examines the nature of these diverse claimed spaces. And the study of parliamentary debates and deliberation in governmental institutions provides insights into closed spaces.

The democratic scholarship of recent decades offers a great variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to capture the characteristics of these participatory spaces. Deliberative, agonistic, participatory, difference, and realist democrats apply competing conceptualisations of these phenomena.

Recent developments in democratic theory raise the question whether such 'model thinking' might be outdated and needs to be overcome. Are these different perspectives mutually exclusive or compatible? What are the implications of the world views that they imply? Do they offer useful perspectives or are they an obstacle for empirical research? Empirical work is characterised by the application of a diversity of methodological strategies that cut across quantitative and qualitative, positivist and constructivist traditions, raising the question of the most profitable approaches to studying participatory spaces.

For the full conference programme and to get free tickets to the keynote events please visit the PDD Conference website.

If you would like to attend the conference without presenting a paper, please email [email protected].