Democracy in Crisis?
Democracy is widely viewed as the only normatively legitimate form of government in modern societies. Yet, at the same time, the institutions of advanced democracies are coming under severe pressure as a result of political apathy, lack of public trust, institutional capture by the wealthy and the rise of populist parties and leaders. This course explores and assesses the current threats facing democracy. Is rising inequality transforming democracies into oligarchies? Does globalization make popular sovereignty impossible? Is populism a threat or essential to democracy? And does the digital revolution undermine civil and political rights? The course brings together political theory and empirical political science to analyse these issues and evaluate the state of democracy in the 21st Century.
New Methods for Analysing Democratic Practice
This course introduces a range of different methodological approaches to conducting social science research within the context of studying democratic innovation. You will learn about new research methods and new ways of doing democracy. The aim of the course is to give you a broad understanding of a number of different research approaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and the principles of good research design. It introduces quantitative and qualitative methods from well-known approaches like experiments and case studies, to lesser-known methods such as participatory action research and Q-method.
Q-Method: A Practical Introduction
Rising interest in participatory and deliberative democracy, along with the recent proliferation of democratic innovations that this has inspired, has produced a variety of new methodological challenges and innovations. This course provides an introduction to one of these new methods for analyzing democratic practice: Q-method. Q-method has been used both as a novel way to investigate citizens preferences for democratic institutions. It has also been used to facilitate some institutional democratic innovations, for instance, in operationalizing ‘discursive representation’. This course first introduces you to the core literature on Q-method, with a particular focus on political science and democracy. However, methods are best learned through application, so the majority of the course is spent developing and carrying out a Q-method project.
Democracy in the Digital Age
The internet was first heralded as a liberating, democratising force that could both topple dictators and provide new technologies for collective organisation. Now it is more likely to be lamented for destroying democracy by trapping us in filter bubbles and proliferating fake news. This course looks at the opportunities and challenges for democracy in the digital age. How can digital technology be used to transform democracy for the better and how might it undermine the basis of democratic societies? The course takes a project-based learning approach, giving you substantial control over which issue you focus your work on.
2017/18 SoSe: Democracy in Crisis? (Undergraduate module). Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt.
2017/18 SoSe: New Methods for Analysing Democratic Practice (Undergraduate module). Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt.
2017/18 WiSe: Democracy in Crisis? (Undergraduate module). Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt.
2017/18 WiSe: New Methods for Analysing Democracy: Q-Method (postgraduate module). Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt.
2016/17: Guest Lecturer, ‘NHS Citizen’ on Innovations in Democratic Practice Module (Undergraduate).
Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.
2016/17: Guest Lecturer, ‘Attitudinal Research’ on Social Policy Research Module (Postgraduate).
Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics.
2015/16: Visiting Lecturer, Innovations in Democratic Practice Module (Undergraduate, 10 week module). Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.
2015/16: Guest Lecturer, ‘Mixed Methods in Social Policy Research’ on Social Policy Research Module (Postgraduate). Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics.
2013/14: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Data Analysis for Social Policy Module (Undergraduate, 15 week module). Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics.