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Democratic Theorizing

Hans Asenbaum, University of Canberra

Tue 13 April 2021


Virtual seminar

Seminar recording is available on our YouTube channel.


Over centuries, democratic theory has developed emancipatory ideals of inclusion, empowerment, and transparency. These ideals, however, have hardly been applied to the process of theorizing itself. Democratic theory is a product of the ivory tower. The Democratic Theorizing Project sets out to confront this problem. Democratic theorizing  –  opposed to established approaches to theorizing democracy – conceptualizes theory production as a participatory space. It applies the values of democratic innovations to theorizing. Democratic theorizing includes affected people, empowers those on the margins, and facilitates transparency. The proposed approach attempts to realize these ideals by building on three sources: grounded normative theory, which develops theory in an ongoing conversation with the data; participatory research, which invites participants as research collaborators; and new materialism, which flattens the hierarchies between researchers, participants, and data. The resulting approach of democratic theorizing draws on an ongoing theorizing project in collaboration with the Black Lives Matter movement.

About the speaker

Hans Asenbaum is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. His research interests include identity and inclusion in new participatory spaces, digital politics, and theories of deliberative, participatory and radical democracy.  His work has been published in the American Political Science Review, New Media & Society, Communication Theory, Politics & Gender, the European Journal of Social Theory, and Political Studies. Hans is Co-convener of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association in the UK.

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