Informing and engaging citizens

Powerful or warm? Liberal and conservative voters favour different traits in a politician

Powerful or warm? Liberal and conservative voters favour different traits in a politician

A politician’s personality has always been important to voters. Lasse Laustsen (Aarhus University) carried out analyses of American and Danish data to find out which character traits most appeal to liberal and conservative voters. Liberals – who take a more benevolent view of human co-operation – tend to prefer warm, co-operative individuals; conservatives, mindful of […]

Book review | We: Reviving Social Hope, by Ronald Aronson

Book review | We: Reviving Social Hope, by Ronald Aronson

In We: Reviving Social Hope, Ronald Aronson takes stock of the current state of US society, attributing the rise of Donald Trump to a steep decline in participatory democracy throughout the twentieth century and offering a blueprint for restoring hope to the body politic. This is an intellectually rigorous analysis, writes Jeff Roquen, that will contribute to a broader […]

Seventeen reads to change the way you think about democracy in 2018

Seventeen reads to change the way you think about democracy in 2018

A lot happened in 2017  – so much that you may have missed some of it. Ros Taylor, the outgoing editor of Democratic Audit, picks some of the best posts we’ve published. Similar Posts

How our social circles shape the way we think about supporters of another party

How our social circles shape the way we think about supporters of another party

It is a truism that American politics has become more polarised in recent years. But how big a gap between Democrats and Republicans do people actually perceive? And how is that gap influenced by their social circles – for example, for a Democrat who only talks about politics with other Democrats? Jeffrey Lyons (Boise State University) […]

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Ongoing UCL Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon (UCL Constitution Unit) sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet […]

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections are not the only barometer of a country’s democratisation. In a number of hybrid regimes, forms of authoritarian strategies hinder the ability of opposition parties to cut through and challenge the existing order. Meredith L Weiss (University at Albany) explains how this works on the ground in Singapore and Malaysia. Similar PostsNow Indonesia has […]

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Some predicted the internet would be the silver bullet that could deal with the deficits of representative democracy. Others were less optimistic about its potential to foster democracy. Hartwig Pautz (University of the West of Scotland) looks at whether the e-democracy tool WriteToThem allows for meaningful communication between citizens and their elected representatives. Similar PostsEveryone loves select committees […]

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

If there is one thing that Labour and Conservatives currently have in common, it is that both appear ready to embark on a step change in housing policy. But are Jeremy Corbyn’s recent announcements on rent controls a sign of change, or just another new political language for ‘masterly inactivity’? Ben Pattison (Sheffield Hallam University) reviews Labour’s […]

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

The incumbent President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, was duly elected in February with almost 98% of the vote. But why did a man with such a firm grip on power – he has ruled since 2007 – bother to hold elections at all? Why take the risky step of allowing other candidates to run and […]

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

In Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy, Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille examine how Western democracies are shaped by educational inequalities that lead to gaps in political participation and governments being dominated by academic elites. While some of the authors’ solutions for these ‘diploma democracies’ are less convincing, this is a very useful account of the influence of education on […]

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