What’s wrong with democracy and how to fix it?

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After Brexit, the Trump electoral victory in the US, and rising support for populist parties in Europe and Australia, understanding the challenges facing liberal democracy and how to address them is more important than ever. This project bridges theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding threats to the legitimacy and viability of liberal democratic government. How does liberal democratic theory propose to ensure social justice, reduce inequality and maintain popular sovereignty, and where does it fail to address current threats to these objectives? Could other governance structures be more responsive to citizens’ concerns and address pressing global challenges such as environmental and economic sustainability? What do citizens think legitimate governance consists of and how do they see their own role as citizens? The project innovates by combining both country-level and citizen-level data to evaluate these questions and propose evidence-based solutions for democratic reform.

Our ideal candidate is passionate about research, has excellent analytical capacity, knowledge of relevant theoretical approaches and intellectual curiosity. We are looking for candidates with a background in either political theory broadly understood or comparative politics, with an interest in combining theoretical and empirical work. Proposed projects can have an emphasis either on theory or empirical approaches, however our ideal candidate would seek a combination.

Supervisory team
Paul
Patton

Arts & Social Sciences
Humanities and Languages
Carolien
van Ham

Arts & Social Sciences
Social Sciences
Jeremy
Moss

Arts & Social Sciences
Humanities and Languages
c.vanham@unsw.edu.au