Research highlights

The research undertaken by members of the Centre for Democratic Engagement examines different forms of democratic engagement, participation and activism at local, national and global levels. Researchers at the Centre study and comment on current democratic challenges such as growing political polarisation, incivility, populism and disinformation, but we are also interested in potential opportunities and solutions, including new forms of citizen engagement, democratic reform of political parties, and innovative tools for online citizen engagement. In so doing, we seek to analyse and interpret the complex and contradictory developments that currently shape the terrain of democratic politics, in what for many is a turbulent and confusing political moment.

Projects

A selection of some of our current funded projects:

Petitioning and People Power in Twentieth-Century Britain
"Petitioning and People Power in Twentieth-Century Britain",  AHRC, 2020-2023. This project aims to explore how petitioning developed throughout the twentieth century, exploring the relationship between direct, participatory and representative democracy. CDE Co-Director Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira is Co-Investigator on this project led by PI Professor Richard Huzzey (History, Durham University).
"A Global Comparative Ethnography of Parliaments, Politicians and People: representation, relationships and ruptures", European Research Council, 2019-24. This project will develop an ethnography of five parliaments (Brazil, Fiji, India, UK and US), with a focus on communication between institution and Members, and public(s). Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira is Co-Investigator on this project led by PI Professor Emma Crewe (Anthropology, SOAS).
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"Inclusivity and Engagement: children and the democratic process"
"Inclusivity and Engagement: children and the democratic process", ESRC WRDTP Collaborative PhD with the UK Parliament, 2020-24. This interdisciplinary project, between politics and education, explores whether institutional political engagement programmes aimed at young people promote inclusivity in the way children are introduced to democratic rights and processes. Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira is Supervisor, together with Dr Paula Clarke (Education, University of Leeds).
"Prime Ministerial Leadership in Japan and the UK: Source of Power and Influence", ESRC. This project aims to address questions surrounding Prime Ministerial leadership in two leading parliamentary systems, the UK and Japan, that have often been overlooked in the comparative literature. It aims to explore the changing nature and role of UK and Japanese Prime Ministers since the turn of the millennium as each country has faced the challenges of the global financial crisis, domestic political and economic problems, and rising traditional and non-traditional security threats.  Dr Timothy Heppell is involved in the project to provide expertise on the UK Prime Minister. The main publication output from this project will be a special issue of Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, in which Dr Heppell will contribute two papers.
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"Understanding normative change to address the climate emergency", UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, 2021-25. This research focuses on social climate mitigation solutions and specifically on how we can accelerate social change in response to the climate crisis, harnessing the power of norms. It looks at norm entrepreneurs such as Fridays for Future that have triggered a normative change, which has the potential to change policies and behaviours. Dr Viktoria Spaiser is the holder of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and Dr Nicole Nisbett is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on this project.
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Blog, News and Events

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In this blog post, CDE member Derek Edyvane writes on citizenship and democracy.  First a confession: I am not a...

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A professor of Social Anthropology at SOAS University of London, and Director, Global Research Network on Parliaments and People (GRNPP),...

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A new post from CDE member Dr Nicole Nisbett. She discusses her experiences at COP26 in Glasgow, which she attended...

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A new post from CDE member Ryan Swift. Ryan discusses the implications of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for...

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The International Public Engagement Network (IPEN), co-founded by the Centre for Democratic Engagement and the UK House of Commons is...

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We are very proud to announce that our very own CDE member, Dr Alex Meakin, has won the prize for...

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CDE member, Alex Norman has made an excellent defence of his PhD. Dr Norman was awarded the PhD subject to...

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The Centre for Democratic Engagement is very pleased to announce that CDE member Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett has been awarded the Research...

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This informal event invites members of the CDE to discuss themes arising from Dr Edyvane’s research on Ordinary Citizenship. Dr...

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The CDE postgraduate workshops are informal gatherings where we discuss issues chosen by our PhD students. This is an opportunity...

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This seminar, by Dr Sean Haughey of the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, uses new public opinion data...

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This seminar is part of the seminar series of IPEN, a network that brings together practitioners and academics working on...

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