John R Parkinson

John R Parkinson
Maastricht University | UM · Department of Philosophy

PhD

About

49
Publications
10,936
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Introduction
I am an applied democracy theorist, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at Maastricht University, and Adjunct Professor of Politics at the University of Canberra. My current project puts my version of deliberative systems theory to the test: tracking and drawing conclusions from two years of everyday conversation on two constitutional questions, Scottish independence and the recognition of indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
Maastricht University
Position
  • Professor
March 2018 - present
University of Canberra
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2014 - March 2018
Griffith University, Nathan, Australia
Position
  • Professor
Education
February 2000 - August 2003
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Political Science and International Relations

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Full-text available
The classic accounts of deliberative democracy are also accounts of legitimacy: ‘that outcomes are legitimate to the extent they receive reflective assent through participation in authentic deliberation by all those subject to the decision in question’ (Dryzek, 2001, p. 651). And yet, in complex societies deliberative participation by all those aff...
Article
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Battles over public space involve conflicts of values that express themselves in planning policies as well as the built environment. However, the dominant conceptions of public space in planning practice and the academic literature support a limited range of those values. I argue that conceptions based on openness and accessibility play into a part...
Chapter
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The last several decades have seen growing agreement among political theorists and empirical political scientists that the legitimacy of a democracy depends in part on the quality of deliberation that informs citizens and their representatives. Until recently, those who wanted to study and improve the quality of deliberation in democracies began wi...
Article
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This paper does not ask to what degree referendums match deliberative democratic criteria, because no institution can. Instead, it asks what roles referendums can play in a deliberative system. It argues that referendums can play constructive roles not just as legitimating tools, but also by providing focusing events that generate salience for ever...
Article
Full-text available
Deliberative systems theorists have for some time emphasised the distributed nature of deliberative values; they therefore do not focus exclusively on 'deliberation' but on all sorts of communication that advance deliberative democratic values, including everyday political talk in informal settings. However, such talk has been impossible to capture...
Article
This paper uses novel electronic tools to identify the degree to which Australia was listening to Indigenous peoples in a ‘national conversation’ about constitutional recognition between 2015 and late 2017. The results show that while there was a superficial overlap in themes, there were important differences of framing. Recognition remained a larg...
Chapter
Chapter three distils lessons about deliberation from two decades of standard, quantitative political science methods in two contexts: deliberative minipublics and parliaments. The discussion reveals that while such pioneering research has generated rich results about preference transformation and citizens’ capacities to engage in quite sophisticat...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the key themes by noting that many empirical studies of deliberative democracy appear to study neither deliberation, nor democracy. The authors set out two ways of thinking about the deliberative quality of democracies. The first is additive: there are procedures and institutions that insert deliberation into a democratic fo...
Book
Deliberative democracy has challenged two widely accepted nostrums about democratic politics: that people lack the capacities for effective self-government; and that democratic procedures are arbitrary and do not reflect popular will; indeed, that the idea of popular will is itself illusory. On the contrary, deliberative democrats have shown that p...
Chapter
The book concludes with a call to repoliticize deliberative democracy by moving away from an exclusive focus on ‘safe havens’ like minipublics, or environments in which administrative imperatives dominate, and engage more effectively with mass democracy, and thus with comparative political science. It shows how the authors’ reconceptualization of d...
Chapter
This chapter sets out a series of issues in the concept of deliberation, distinguishing it from the deliberative quality more generally. It starts by resisting the recent tendency to inflate the concept of deliberation in response to critics; instead, it advances a narrow although more ‘cultural’ definition, one that concedes that deliberation is j...
Chapter
Chapter four assesses a series of proposals in the literature for refinements to, and escape routes from, the dilemmas posed in chapter three. They reject a series of amendments that contextualize deliberation in somewhat crude ways, often through simple typologies that link communicative and setting types. Such approaches fail to appreciate the fa...
Chapter
Chapter seven takes the results of the four previous chapters and discusses their implications for the analysis of deliberation per se (a micro phenomenon) and the deliberative quality of democratic systems (a macro one). After specifying contrasting implications of the additive and summative views, it then looks at what kinds of methods can addres...
Chapter
Chapter six takes the systems account from chapter five and develops its empirical implications. It begins by setting out again the definition of the deliberative quality before returning to the additive and summative distinction set out in the introduction, testing how far one can push the summative idea before it, settling on a weak rather than s...
Chapter
The deliberative systems approach focuses on “deliberative” as an adjectival quality of democratic systems, whether small-scale or large, rather than on “deliberation” as a noun. But how systems come to merit that adjective rather than any other is still an open question. This chapter addresses that by way of four subsidiary questions, which result...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter takes three conceptions of deliberative democracy and lines them up against three conceptions of constitutions in order to make sense of what we mean when we say "constitutional deliberative democracy". It argues that only some of those intersections imply a direct role for citizen engagement, but it is those specific modes that democr...
Chapter
Full-text available
The chapter starts by setting out some fundamental disagreements about the meaning of deliberative democracy, resisting a tendency to equate it with particular techniques of public engagement. Instead, it argues that we should treat deliberative democracy as a label for a kind of democratic system that has deliberation as a salient feature. It then...
Chapter
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Legitimacy is the moralization of authority. Democratic legitimacy specifies that what makes the exercise of authority moral is that its source is “the people” in some sense; its procedures are democratic ones; and its outcomes clearly relate to the preferences of the people concerned. However, beneath that definition lie several controversies rela...
Chapter
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Democracy is often presented as a concept whose content is so contested as to have been emptied of meaning, and robbed of critical bite. This article argues that there is a common core based on political equality in determining acts of governance, and that while there is much disagreement over principles and procedures, solutions to those disagreem...
Article
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In a democracy, legislatures are not only stages for performances by elected representatives; they are also stages for performances by other players in the public sphere. This article argues that while many legislatures are designed and built as spaces for the public to engage with politics, and while democratic norms require some degree of access,...
Book
'Deliberative democracy' is often dismissed as a set of small-scale, academic experiments. This volume seeks to demonstrate how the deliberative ideal can work as a theory of democracy on a larger scale. It provides a new way of thinking about democratic engagement across the spectrum of political action, from towns and villages to nation states, a...
Chapter
Deliberation occurs in many different kinds of social system; but not all deliberative systems are democratic. Deliberation might occur in enclaves that are cut off from formal decision-makers; it might occur within a limited elite; and the inputs into elite deliberation might be technical-legal ones rather than the reflective preferences of those...
Article
Full-text available
This article looks at some dimensions of battles over the representation of people in the capital cities of modern democracies, looking at the symbolic aspects of representation rather than its principal-agent or descriptive aspects. It starts by presenting an account of democratic public space, and an account of how public representations are cons...
Chapter
When political theorists discuss public space they generally take it to be a metaphor that refers to the myriad ways in which citizens separated in time and space can participate in collective deliberation, decision-making and action, a concept interchangeable with ‘the public realm’ or ‘the public sphere’ (for example Benhabib 1992; Nagel 1995). T...
Article
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Among Arguments Advanced In Favour Of Direct Democracy, legitimacy pleas loom large. If the rules governing people can only be legitimate when those rules arise from and represent the will of all, then it is commonly argued that people should have the right to vote not just for representatives but on substantive issues of public policy as well. To...
Article
This article defends the idea of an appointed House of Lords using deliberative democratic theory. The analysis suggests that while one might well think that current appointment procedures leave much to be desired, a reformed but still appointed House of Lords would be better at maximising the deliberative democratic qualities of inclusiveness and...
Article
It is sometimes claimed that one of the most fruitful ways of deepening democracy is by "the proliferation of better minipublics", the extensive use of small-scale deliberative processes rather than wholesale reform of the public sphere.1 This article argues that there are reasons to be cautious about enthusiasm for the small scale. In particular,...
Book
This book attempts to solve two problems in deliberative democratic theory and practice: How can agreements reached inside deliberative forums be legitimate for those who did not take part? And why should people with strongly-held views participate in the first place? The solution involves rethinking deliberative theory, but also draws on lessons f...
Article
I am grateful to James Fishkin and Robert Luskin for taking the time to consider and respond to my remarks on the dangers of relying on the news media to form a bridge between participants and non-participants in deliberative events. Clearly we are in agreement that there is a difference between deliberations as experienced by participants and a te...
Article
It is a fairly common criticism of deliberative democratic ideals that one cannot involve thousands, let alone millions, of people in a decision-making process and still retain its deliberative character, at least not in any sense as strict as those of the classic expositions of deliberative democratic principles. Various solutions to this scale pr...
Article
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This paper examines the emergence of restorative justice meetings—in which victims come face to face with offenders—and asks whether they provide an example of deliberative democracy in action. The article analyses some restorative justice initiatives from the United States and Australasia and finds that they exhibit inclusiveness, and create more...
Article
The last decade has seen a great amount of experimentation with processes which involve citizens directly in public decision making, in part justified by claims of greater representativeness. However, representation arguments are also used to make cases against direct involvement of citizens, particularly by those with power under existing represen...
Article
A number of organizations in Britain's National Health Service (NHS) have been experimenting with ‘deliberative’ techniques of citizen involvement, techniques that were designed with democratic imperatives in mind. However, political practices are moulded by their institutional settings and the goals of their proponents, so it is unlikely that they...
Article
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One of the arguments advanced in favour of regular use of referendums is that they rationalise public debates. On the one hand, the process is supposed to allow ordinary citizens to raise problems and solutions directly rather than filtering them through representative and bureaucratic structures. On the other hand, public debate during a campaign...
Article
Full-text available
This paper asks whether the ideas of deliberative democracy are useful for thinking about how democratic societies work, or should work, at the large scale. It starts by going backwards, reviving what I take to be the original point of deliberative democratic theory as descriptive of how democratic societies function, or ought to function, as sets...

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