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Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Dr John Boswell 

Associate Professor in Politics, Deputy Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance

Dr John Boswell's photo

I am an Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Southampton.

My research and teaching interests centres around contemporary issues and themes in democratic governance and public policy. My research is generally qualitative and interpretive in nature, and I also have an interest in writing and teaching on methodological matters in this tradition.

Research interests

I have written especially on the following: deliberative democracy in theory and practice; citizen engagement and democratic innovation; the politics of public policy; public health policy and social policy; policy advocacy and political rhetoric; the role of experts and scientific evidence in democratic debate and policymaking; and interpretive and qualitative research methods in the social sciences. I am happy to supervise postgraduate students in all these areas.

Current project

Mending Democracy: Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times

Written with Carolyn Hendriks (ANU) and Selen Ercan (University of Canberra), this book brings together a decade of rich qualitative insight into the creative ways in which citizens, civil society actors and civil servants are working to enhance citizen input into policymaking in everyday practice. Linking our fine-grained insights to cutting edge democratic theory, we argue that scholars and practitioners seeking to reform and renew democracy need to pay more attention to the everyday practices of democratic mending, rather than focus so much attention on recipes for institutional (re)design.

Recent project

The Art and Craft of Comparison

Written with PAIR colleagues Rod Rhodes and Jack Corbett, this book sets out the case for an unorthodox and creative approach to doing comparative research in politics and the broader social sciences. It is the culmination of several years of teaching, talking and thinking about interpretive methods at the Centre for Political Ethnography in Southampton. 

I currently serve as:

  • Thematic Cluster Pathway Coordinator for Citizenship, Governance and Security in the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership
  • Head of Programmes for the Masters in Social Research Methods
  • Programme Lead for the Masters in Public Administration
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Book Chapter

  • Hendriks, C. M., & Boswell, J. (Accepted/In press). Governance networks. In Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy Oxford University Press.

Journal Special Issue


I convene:

  • RESM6309 Working Across Disciplines
  • PAIR2016/3025 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAIR6043 Comparative Public Administration

I also contribute to:

  • PAIR2004 Qualitative Research Methods

Research supervision
I have supervised PhD students in a wide variety of topics related to my research interests in democratic governance, public policy and public administration.

Dr John Boswell
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom


Room Number : 58/3071

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