Other Research


For publications and other research updates, please visit my Google Scholar and Researchgate profiles.


Deliberative Democracy and Legitimacy

978-0-19-929111-3This body of work looks at issues in the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. The overarching theme is how one creates links between the ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in any deliberative decision making moment, and thus how we share arguments around a democratic society.

The work includes my book, Deliberating in the Real World, published by Oxford University Press in 2006: click on the cover below left to go to the OUP website, or go to Amazon for a Kindle version, or download some of the papers, below.


I have worked on referendums for more than ten years, and in 2010-11 served as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Constitution Committee’s inquiry into referendums in the UK. Their report is available here.Minarett-verbot poster

My early work evaluated referendums against a set of deliberative democratic criteria, and found them seriously wanting. The first results include:

  • 2001. ‘Who knows best: the creation of citizen-initiated referendums in New Zealand.’ Government and Opposition 32(3): 403-421.
  • 2001. ‘Deliberative democracy and referendums.’ In K Dowding, J Hughes and H Margetts, eds. Challenges to democracy: ideas, involvement and institutions. London: Palgrave, pp.131-52

Sincce then my views have shifted a little. If we think of referendums as tools in a wider democratic system, then there are some roles they can perform uniquely well. There is an unpublished conference paper exploring this:

Contact me

Professor John Parkinson
Department of Philosophy, Maastricht University
P O Box 616 | 6200 MD Maastricht | The Netherlands

jrp [at] johnrparkinson.net

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