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
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!
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
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”
Teaching a class of middle- ranking policy makers last year brought to the foreground an issue I’ve been pondering for a while now. It is this: many officials focus too much on a well-defined problem, and design solutions to fix that problem directly. Indeed, they are taught, and incentivised, to do that. The vast majority of public administration and management courses and text-books preach that … Continue reading The danger of policy – and deliberation – in straight lines
I was privileged yesterday to take part in a discussion on CBC radio’s Ottawa Morning show with host Robyn Bresnahan and Jennifer Ditchburn, Editor in Chief of Policy Options. Jennifer had written an excellent piece about a huge, decade-long programme to renovate the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament, something that is not being discussed but should be, because of its potential to significantly disrupt the … Continue reading Parliament Rebuilding – don’t let them seal themselves off