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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

'Democracy: Problems and Prospects' Study Day Event

democracy problems
10:00 - 16:00
16 February 2013
Building 85 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Kirsty McLean at .

Event details

We will be holding a one-day cultural event on Saturday 16th February 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 democracy and politics from academics of international distinction.


Electoral turnout and party membership are in decline. Cynicism about politicians and politics is high. Yet this disenchantment with the reality of democratic governance is combined with strong support for the ideal of democracy. How are we to understand these phenomena and their relationship?

The lectures and discussions of this study day are designed (a) to evaluate explanations of why (it seems) we hate politics but love the democratic ideal, (b) to analyze the distribution of democratic disenchantment, and (c) to consider proposals for public re-engagement with democratic politics.

This study day considers the challenges and opportunities faced by democracy. It begins with the issue of anti-politics manifest in public disengagement from democratic politics, public distrust in politicians and public outrage with scandals such as that concerning MPs expenses. But it also considers how we might address these problems through existing and new practices of democracy, not least forms of democratic innovation. It concludes by considering the changing character of democracy and the relationship between democracy and disappointment.


Emma Thompson - Anti-politics and public disengagement

Dr Russell Bentley - Mistrusting political speech.

Dr Alix Kelso - The Expenses Scandal and response to it.

Matt Ryan - Democratic Innovation: Designing Re-engagement

Dr David Owen - Democracy and Disappointment.


£30 full rate

£20 loyalty rate (Harbour Lights Members, Friends of Parkes, English Teachers Network, university staff and alumni)

£10 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


To book your place, please log into our new secure Online Store to complete the application form and make payment.

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