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The University of Southampton

'Democratic Futures' Study Day Event

Lifelong Learning
10:00 - 16:00
12 July 2014
Avenue Campus Highfield Road Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Lifelong Learning Team at .

Event details

We will be holding a one-day cultural event on Saturday 12 July consisting of a series of short talks led by experts from within Politics at Southampton. This thought provoking and inspiring conference will provide you with the opportunity to learn and engage in discussion about the future of democracy from academics of international distinction.


Emma Thompson: Democracy and Youth: The misnomer of youth political apathy
Young people are often given the label of being the least politically active group within society. Evidence from taster lectures with 16-18 year olds shows this to be far from the case. Through discussion with young people we find that they are not only politically active on their own terms, but also on the terms of any quantitative researcher, more active even than the rest of the UK adult population.

Justin Murphy: Democracy and the Political Science of Propaganda: A Curious History
Most people think of propaganda, or the systematic dissemination of misleading information, as a practice peculiar to authoritarian governments. Democracies with media freedom, on the other hand, are widely believed to have transcended the use of propaganda. Yet the history of propaganda research in the social sciences reveals a surprisingly different story. This lecture provides a brief history of what social scientists have thought about propaganda, beginning in the early 20th century and ending with some curious findings from contemporary research and their implications for the future of democracy.

Gerry Stoker: Anti-Politics: Twelve Factors Explaining Political Disenchantment in Contemporary Democracies 
Anti-politics, then, is an amalgam of behaviours and attitudes that sometimes finds expression in alienated inaction with respect to politics or support for populist interventions into politics. This talk highlights a dozen factors captured under four broad headings. We examine whether social changes might by driving anti-politics or whether changing norms and attitudes among citizens might be behind the phenomenon. These first two types of explanations imply that it is not the fault of democratic politics or its outputs that lie behind anti-politics but that something has changed about citizens that have made politics more alienating an experience for them. However the second two sets of explanations do consider that the practice or performance of politics may have changed the relationship of politics with citizens for the worse.  The political system or politicians may have changed in a way that citizens find the inherently difficult processes of politics- the imposition of collective decisions, the dull dynamics, the mendacity and the compromises- even harder to accept. Moreover positive outcomes from politics may have become more difficult to deliver, leaving more citizens pondering what its point is.

David Owen: Democracy and its challenges under conditions of globalisation
Democracy - in it modern form - emerged within the nation-state and its development was closely tied to state-building and nation-building projects, however, it now faces a series of challenges that arise in the context of a globalising world.

This paper sketched three major challenges:
1. Migration and the fate of the national basis of the democratic state
2. Governance beyond the state and the reach of democracy
3. Non-state actors and private power in a global context

The talk argues that democracy remains the ‘least worst' form of governance but that it will have to adapt if it is to meet these challenges


£31 full rate

£21 loyalty rate (Harbour Lights Members, Friends of Parkes, English Teachers Network, university staff and alumni)

£11 discount rate (students/sixth form & college students and those in receipt of income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Council Tax or Housing Benefit)

All prices include lunch and refreshments



Please note that booking is required for attendance of this event.

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