Info

Real Democracy Now! a podcast

Real Democracy Now! a podcast answers the question: can we do democracy differently? If you're dissatisfied with the current state of democracy but not sure how it could be improved this is the podcast for you. You'll hear from experts and activists as well as everyday people about how democracy works and how it can be improved. Then you get to choose which reforms you think would make the most difference.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes
Real Democracy Now! a podcast
2017
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: June, 2017
Jun 26, 2017
Welcome to this bonus episode in Season 2 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. Season 2 is about representative democracy and this episode is about the democratic deficit.
 
In episodes 12 and 13 of Season 2 I spoke to a range of academics about the democratic deficit arising from declining levels of trust and structural aspects of our current system of representative democracy.
 
Today I talk with Professor Pippa Norris about the democratic deficit arising from the gap between people’s expectations of democracy and their perception of its performance. 
 
Pippa is the Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard University where she has taught for two decades. She is also ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. She is a political scientist focusing on democracy and development, public opinion and elections, political communications, and gender politics. She directs The Electoral Integrity Project, a multimillion dollar six-year research project with a team based at Sydney and Harvard.
 
She has published almost forty books, two of which are particularly relevant to my discussion with her today Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Governance, published in 1999 and Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited, published in 2011. She continues to work in this area and she is currently writing a new book Democratic Deficits: Rising Aspirations, Negative News or Failing Performance?.
 
Thank you for joining me for this bonus episode. I will be talking to Pippa again in Season 3 about The Electoral Integrity Project. 
Jun 19, 2017
In Episode 14 of Season 2 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast I’m talking with Quinton Mayne, Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Quinton received his Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. His dissertation, entitled The Satisfied Citizen: Participation, Influence, and Public Perceptions of Democratic Performance, won the American Political Science Association's 2011 Ernst B. Haas Best Dissertation Award in European Politics as well as the 2011 Best Dissertation Award in Urban Politics. Mayne's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of comparative and urban politics. He is particularly interested in how the design and reform of democratic political institutions affect how citizens think and act politically.
 
I first came across Quinton early in my own PhD studies, finding his dissertation online and being very taken with the idea that satisfaction with democracy could be demonstrably increased by devolving power and authority to local government. In this episode Quinton talks about States of Satisfaction a book he is writing based on his PhD research as well as other research he is undertaking with Associate Professor Armen Hakhverdian looking at the impact of ideological congruence on citizen satisfaction and with Professor Brigitte Geißel to develop an approach for including citizens in the evaluation of democratic quality. 
 
Thank you for joining me today. The next episode of Real Democracy Now! a podcast will be the third episode in the ‘One change to democracy’ series where you’ll hear from a range of my guests answering the question ‘if you could change one thing about democracy what would it be?’ I hope you’ll join me then.
Jun 13, 2017
Welcome to Episode 13 of Season 2 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. In today’s episode, we are talking at the democratic deficit again, this time focusing more on structural aspects of democracy.
 
First up I talk to Professor Nadia Urbinati. Nadia is a Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies at Columbia University. She is a political theorist who specialises in modern and contemporary political thought and the democratic and anti-democratic traditions.  Nadia has written extensively on democracy including two books: Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy, Democracy Disfigured, and Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government
 
I first spoke to Nadia in episode 2 of Season 2 of the podcast where she spoke about the origins and components of representative democracy. Today Nadia talks about the democracy deficit as well as her book Democracy Disfigured, where she identifies three types of democratic disfigurement: the unpolitical, the populist and the plebiscitarian.
 
My second guest is Emeritus Professor Barry Hindess. Barry is Emeritus Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Like many senior academics he has published more than he cares to remember, including Discourses of Power: from Hobbes to Foucault, Governing Australia: studies in contemporary rationalities of government (with Mitchell Dean), Corruption and Democracy in Australia, Us and them: elites and anti-elitism in Australia (with Marian Sawer)and papers on neo-liberalism, liberalism and empire and the temporalizing of difference.
 
I came across Barry’s 2002 paper Deficit by Design early in my PhD studies and it was my introduction to the idea that the structure of representative democracy was itself one of the key limitations for the system of democracy. Barry’s argument is "that the problem of democratic deficit is in fact the normal condition of the institutions of representative government… [concluding that] democratic deficit is an integral part of its design.” Barry is now retired so I am very grateful that he made the time to talk with me for this episode.
 
 
My third guest is Professor Wolfgang Merkel, who is the Director of the Research Unit: Democracy and Democratization at the WZB Social Science Research Centre Berlin, as well as heading up the Centre for Global Constitutionalism and a number of other projects. He has written widely on democracy, democratisation, social democracy and democracy & capitalism to name but a few in academic and non-academic publications. Professor Merkel is a co-project leader of the Democracy Barometer. This project developed an instrument to assess the quality of democracy in 30 established democracies and was the focus of my discussion with Professor Merkel in episode 2. 3
 
My fourth guest is Professor Leonardo Morlino who is a professor of political science and director of the Research Center on Democracies and Democratizations at LUISS, Rome. Prof. Morlino is a leading specialist in comparative politics with expertise on Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the phenomenon of democratization. Professor Morlino has been part of a few other episodes -  episode 2.3 explaining his analytical approach to evaluating democracy, episode 2.12 about trust and the democratic deficit and he will be on a future episode talking about the relationship between representative democracy and capitalism.
 
My fifth guest is Dr Roslyn Fuller, a Canadian-Irish academic and columnist, specialising in public international law, and the impact of technological innovation on democracy. Her latest book Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose explores the flaws of representative democracy and how they could be addressed through the application of ancient Athenian principles of demokratia (people power). Her work has appeared, among others, in OpenDemocracyThe NationThe Toronto Star, Salon and The Irish Times, as well as in many scholarly journals. She is currently a Research Associate at Waterford Institute of Technology and founding member of the Solonian Democracy Institute.
 
Roslyn was also my guest in episode 2.2 talking about her research on democracy in ancient Athens and how we might apply Athenian direct today. Like Nadia Urbinati, Roslyn is concerned about the impact of money on democracy. 
 
And finally, we hear from Associate Professor Ben Isakhan who is Associate Professor of Politics and Policy Studies and Founding Director of POLIS, a research network for Politics and International Relations in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University, Australia. He is also Adjunct Senior Research Associate, in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney, Australia. Ben is the author of Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics, Discourse and the editor of six books including The Secret History of Democracy, and The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy: From Pre-History to Future Possibilities. Ben was my guest on episode 2. 4 talking about non-Western democracy. Today he talks about the challenges to “brand democracy."
 
 
Thanks for joining me today. In the next episode of Real Democracy Now! a podcast I will be talking to Quinton Mayne, an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University about his research on satisfaction with democracy. I hope you’ll join me then.
Jun 8, 2017
Welcome to Episode 12 of Season 2 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. In today’s episode, we are talking at the democratic deficit, focusing on trust and the concept of stealth democracy.
 
First up I talk to Professor Gerry Stoker at his research into trust and democracy as well as the concept of stealth democracy. 
 
Gerry is Professor of Governance within Social Sciences: Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton. He is also the Centenary Professor of Governance in the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra. Professor Stoker’s main research interests are in governance, democratic politics, local and regional governance, urban politics, public participation and public service reform. He has authored or edited over 20 books and published over 70 refereed articles or chapters in books.
 
My second guest is Professor Mark Warren who I spoke to in episode 2.7 about his problem-based approach to democratic theory. In today's episode, he talks about the lack of trust is at the foundation of democracy.
 
Mark is the Harold and Dorrie Merilees Chair in the Study of Democracy in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia where he established the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. His current research interests fall within the field of democratic theory. He is especially interested in new forms of citizen participation, new forms of democratic representation, the relationship between civil society and democratic governance, and the corruption of democratic relationships.
 
And finally, I talk with Professor Leonardo Morlino about trust in democracy and the possibility of global democracy. Professor Morlino was part of episode 2.3 explaining his analytical approach to evaluating democracy. 
 
Leonardo is a professor of political science and director of the Research Center on Democracies and Democratizations at LUISS, Rome. Prof. Morlino is a leading specialist in comparative politics with expertise on Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the phenomenon of democratization. 
 
 
Thanks for joining me today. In the next episode of Real Democracy Now! a podcast I will continue to look at the democratic deficit, this time from a structural angle. I hope you’ll join me then.
Jun 1, 2017
 
I ask all of my guests two questions: 
  1. what for them is the essence of a real democracy? and 
  2. if they could change one thing about our system of democracy what would it be?
In episode 1.9 we heard from a number of the guests I interviewed in Season 1 (about deliberative mini-publics) on their view of the essence of a real democracy. And in episode 2. 5 we heard a range of ideas for ‘one change to democracy’. Today is another episode where guests share their idea for that one change (sometimes two) to our system of democracy. 
 
I’ve found the answers people have given to this question fascinating. As I mentioned last time, sometimes people want changes that directly relate to their area of interest and other things they identify an important change in a completely different part of our democratic system. 
 
First up we hear from Peter MacLeod from MASS LBP in Toronto Canada. I interviewed Peter in episode 1.6 about MASS LBP’s work designing and delivering Citizen Reference Panels.
 
Next is Titus Alexander from Democracy Matters in the UK. Titus was part of episode 1.10 where he talked about the facilitation process for the two UK Citizens’ Assemblies. 
 
In episode 1.3 I spoke with the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill about why he supports deliberative mini-publics.
 
Professor Brigitte Geißel from Goethe University in Frankfurt was part of episode 1.18 discussing how she approaches evaluating deliberative mini-publics. 
 
Next is Professor Leonardo Morlino from LUISS in Rome who was part of episode 2.3 talking about how to evaluate representative democracy. 
 
Also in episode 2.3, talking about how to evaluate representative democracy was Professor Wolfgang Merkel from WZB in Berlin.
 
Next is Zelalem Sirna from Ethiopia who is a PhD student in Portugal. Zelalem was part of episode 2.4 about non-western democracy.
 
Professor Mark Warren from the University of British Columbia explained his problem-based approach to democratic theory in episode 2.7.
 
Professor Archon Fung from Harvard University spoke about pragmatic democracy in episode 2.8.
 
And finally, Associate Professor Sofia Näsström from Uppsala University in Sweden was my guest on episode 2.9 talking about representation and her upcoming book The Spirit of Democracy.
 
Thank you for joining me today. In the next two episodes of Real Democracy Now! a podcast I’ll taking to a number of people about what isn’t working so well in representative democracy, often referred to as the democratic deficit. I hope you’ll join me then.
1