Democracy Doctorate

Can democratic innovations change democracy?

#5PAPERS – Week 1 Day 2

Here is Day 2’s article

1.Reference to the Article 

Dalton R.J. Citizenship Norms and the Expansion of Political Participation. Political Studies. 2008, vol.56(1):76-98.

  1. What attracted me to this Article?

My research will be considering, amongst other things, on how political elites understand their role and the role of citizens in political decision-making. I need to build my understanding of how citizen participation is conceptualised.

  1. What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)

Dalton is considering whether political participation has declined or whether it has simply taken a new form.

  1. Where does this come from? (Literature / Theoretical Framework)

Literature review and data analysis (see below)

  1. What did they do? (Methodology & Method)

Analysed data from the 2005 Center for Democracy and Civil Society (CDAS) survey as well as assessing other longitudinal studies. Read the rest of this entry »


#5PAPERS – Week 1 Day 1

Here is Day 1’s article, using Jeffrey’s questions as a guide:

1.Reference to the Article 

Johnson, Carolina and Gastil, John (2015) “Variations of Institutional Design for Empowered Deliberation,” Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1, Article 2.

  1. What attracted me to this Article?

Carolina’s work around macro impacts of democratic innovations (PB in particular) AND reference in title to ‘institutional design’.

  1. What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)
  • empowerment as part of public deliberation processes – practice ahead of academic understanding of implications
  • defn empowerment as having ‘binding and pre-determined authority or influence over policy outcomes’ p3
  • ‘to improve our conceptualisation and understanding of empowered deliberation.’p7
  1. Where does this come from? (Literature / Theoretical Framework)
  • intersection of theory and practice
  • empowered deliberation = participatory goverance (see Wampler, 2012: 669)
  • lit review considers critical & supportive perspectives:
    • C – legitimacy of deliberative bodies; impact on process
    • S – encourages participation & commitment; individual level impacts; improve outputs; encourages political elites to take processes seriously.
  1. What did they do? (Methodology & Method)
  • look at examples of empowered deliberation
  • develop a taxonomy of these processes – identify gaps in practice and study  – aim to provide better model for what ‘engenders and sustains empowered deliberation’ p7
  • ‘we hold that the normative desirability of empowered deliberation remains an empirical question, based on observation of its actual practice.’ p7
  • distinguish b/w embedded and autonomous processes – interesting distinction particularly when considering empowerment
  1. What did they learn? (Results / Discussion)

identify 4 dimensions (quadrants) in design:

  1. embedded vs autonomous
  2. one off vs recurring
  3. provisional vs final decision-making
  4. local vs trans-local

*some quadrants are empty!

  1. What did I learn?
  • they consider Canada Bay to be  autonomous and Geraldton to be embedded (nope, they say it is a hybrid)
  • do they equate autonomous with random selection – yes it appears so (see p12)

☐ how would these dimensions apply to other Australian cases? could we fill the gaps?




Thanks to @JeffreyKeefer for the idea to set a reading goal of 5 papers per week. You can read more about this at Jeffrey’s blog Silence and Voice.

I agree with Jeffrey that 5 papers a week should be manageable (time will tell). After nearly three years of part-time PhD study and a refocusing of my research question I have a lot of material to get on top of.

I started on Monday 4 January and will aim to post a short summary of each article I read each day.