Becoming a foreigner in my own language

I’ve been living and working in the Netherlands for three years now, learning the language because I think it’s important, but slowly because, well, life. I’m a much better ‘passive’ user of the language than active – reading and listening reasonable, speaking and writing something just short of Jip en Janneke taal, simple language named after characters in a famous series of childrens’ books. What’s … Continue reading Becoming a foreigner in my own language

‘Bricking it’ Part 2: the results

Five months ago I wrote about an intrepid group of Honours students taking their first steps into the wonderful world of Lego Serious Play. Well, the work is done and the report is in – and the team has allowed me to share it here. Not only that, but they produced a podcast too! I have some reflections on what happened, but have a look … Continue reading ‘Bricking it’ Part 2: the results

Bricking it: teaching and researching with Lego

I love my job, but there are times when I really, really love it. And despite corona restrictions forcing us out of classrooms and onto Zoom, I’m having one of those ‘really, really’ times right now. It’s teaching a group of Honours students in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at Maastricht how to use Lego Serious Play to conduct research. And, of course, … Continue reading Bricking it: teaching and researching with Lego

Mapping and Measuring Deliberation is out!

At last, Mapping and Measuring Deliberation, written with my friend and colleague André Bächtiger, is out now with Oxford University Press. It is, I hope, going to prove a little controversial. Essentially, it argues that much empirical social science has been confusing deliberation – the noun – with “deliberative”, an adjectival quality of democracy; and treating deliberative theory as a set of analytic criteria to … Continue reading Mapping and Measuring Deliberation is out!

Some learnings from the gifting space

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about language and communication lately, particularly the largely-unexamined assumptions about language that lurk in the background of my particular branch of democratic theory. I’ll write something longer about that shortly, but broadly speaking I think of language in rather anthropological terms as fluid systems of social meaning-making, not as fixed systems for conveying pre-linguistic truth. Despite that, … Continue reading Some learnings from the gifting space

“The people voted for Brexit, that’s the end of it”

I constantly see in news and social media feeds the claim that the UK does not need a second Brexit referendum — a People’s Vote — because the people have already voted. They made a decision, get over it, get on with it. We shouldn’t revisit decisions over and over again until we get what the losers think is the right answer. I’m tired of … Continue reading “The people voted for Brexit, that’s the end of it”