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Lead: Simon Reid-Henry

The focus of the Democracy theme is on three programmes of work running throughout the year. The aim is to encourage cross-disciplinary engagement within and across each of these three categories, with a view to developing future work on democracy across the Faculty. Events will shine a spotlight on both the tensions and possibilities of democratic politics in historical, comparative and theoretical perspective. The three Democracy sub-themes are:

Actors and Institutions

This theme will address recent institutional changes within liberal democratic polities. This includes attention to the institutions of capitalist democracy, such as the media, finance and debt, and to the gendered and classed nature of democratic politics. It also includes a focus on the emergence of new parties of movement.

Scales of Democracy

This theme explores how democracy is imagined and articulated by different actors across different political scales, be this regional variations in democratic procedure, grassroots mobilisations, the articulation of political obligation at the supra-national scale, or the challenges of “direct democracy”. Planned events here include: Practicing Democracy in the Neighbourhood (in conjunction with the City Centre).

Democracy’s Values

This theme addresses different ways in which democracy is imagined and acted upon, be this comparative examinations of forms of political rule, investigation into specific democratic techniques, such as “militant democracy”, the role of myth in the functioning of democratic knowledge or counter-democratic arts of the political such as “security” and the primacy accorded notions of “free speech”. Here we will also be considering the impact on older democratic norms of new platforms such as digitalisation, and issues of socio-economic structure and inclusion. Planned events include: The politics of collective obligations.

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