I am an applied democracy theorist, currently Professor of Social and Political Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. I also hold an adjunct professorship in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, Australia.

My research examines the links between “governance” – not just law-making but other forces that make rules, policies and norms — and democratic public debate, decisions and meaning-making. I have written on referendum processes around the world, public participation in policy making in the UK’s National Health Service, deliberative democratic theory and practice, and the requirements for public space in a democracy – check out the various research pages for more details, or the Teaching page for details of some of my marvellous PhD students.

My major contribution to democratic theory is the ‘deliberative systems’ approach, having instigated and co-edited Deliberative Systems with Jane Mansbridge at Harvard University in 2012.

I carry my democratic commitments into my teaching, thinking about what it might mean to democratise knowledge. As part of that, I am a certified Lego® Serious Play® facilitator, and have developed a toolkit of techniques for use in learning, skills development and research, as well as its usual team strategy, development and planning applications.

A New Zealander, born in Wellington, I was raised nomadically in New Zealand, Hong Kong and, briefly, Singapore. I have lived and worked in Australia twice; and in the UK where I taught at the University of York from 2003 to 2010; the University of Warwick from 2010 to 2014.

I blog here sporadically, and tweet @profparkinson.

Contact me

John Parkinson 

Professor of Social and Political Philosophy | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences | Maastricht University

and Adjunct Professor of Politics | Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance | University of Canberra

Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211 SZ Maastricht | The Netherlands

jrp [at] johnrparkinson.net

Budapest statue park




One response to “About”

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