Dec 07

Politics researchers pick up prestigious award

Politics academics at the University of Southampton are part of a winning team to receive the Democratic Innovation Award at the Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual Awards in Westminster.

Together with researchers from four other universities and members of the Electoral Reform Society, Professor Will Jennings, Professor Gerry Stoker and Dr Paolo Spada were recognised for their Democracy Matters Citizens’ Assembly project.

Democracy Matters aimed to address the gap that has emerged between the public and politicians, political processes and political institutions. It brought together politicians, regional leaders and the public to debate a range of options for Britain’s constitutional future.

Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton, said:

“Our project challenged the myth that people are disengaged from politics. When citizens are given the chance to assess a range of positions and possibilities, they do it with gusto – people are more than capable of grappling with complex questions about the way we are governed.”

“This marks an important contribution to the conversation about politics and democracy in this country. We have shown there is a real potential for a new way of doing things.”

Between October and November 2015, two pilot assemblies were run in Sheffield (Assembly North) and Southampton (Assembly South) to ask how new regional powers can be established in a form that is supported by the people who live locally. The pilot assemblies compared and contrasted different assembly design types and revealed how to ‘do’ politics differently and the long-term benefits of such an approach in an era that appears defined by anti-politics.

The PSA judging panel who selected the award praised: ‘the innovative and deliberative ways in which the Democracy Matters project and their pilot Citizens’ Assemblies in Sheffield and Southampton engaged with citizens and their potential for shaping future democratic reforms and the devolution of power at local and regional levels.’

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “This prize means a great deal – especially to those who believe involving citizens in political processes is central to building a healthy democracy. At a time of growing disillusionment in mainstream politics, it’s vital that politicians at all levels recognise the need to close the democratic gap and give voters a real say over their communities.”

Now in its 15th year, the PSA Awards pays tribute to those that have made outstanding contributions to the study and conduct of politics in the past year. The Citizens’ Assembly project achieved both, by bringing together an alliance of university researchers and civil society organisations to pilot new ways of promoting informed public engagement around the English devolution agenda.

The winning team consisted of Katie Ghose (Electoral Reform Society), Matt Flinders (University of Sheffield), Will Jennings (University of Southampton), Edward Molloy (Electoral Reform Society), Brenton Prosser (University of Sheffield), Alan Renwick (University College London), Graham Smith (University of Westminster), Paolo Spada (University of Southampton) and Gerry Stoker (University of Southampton).

As an ESRC-funded ‘rapid response’ project, Democracy Matters demonstrates the capacity of the social sciences to undertake rigorous, risky and high-impact research in an agile and highly responsive manner.

The master of ceremonies on the evening was Jon Snow (Channel 4 News), and the award was presented by the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones. Other winners include Grayson Perry (Contribution to the Arts and Culture), Michael Ignatieff (International Recognition Award), Gordon Brown (Lifetime Achievement in Politics) and Ruth Davidson (Best Use of Social Media).

Dec 07

Symposium on Chris Armstrong’s forthcoming book, ‘Justice and Natural Resources’

On 25th and 26th January, the University of Bristol are holding a symposium on a forthcoming book by Professor Chris Armstrong, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton.

Political and moral philosophers are devoting increased attention to the questions of who should control access to natural resources and how the benefits of natural resources should be shared. Stress on essential resources such as fertile land and clean water, growing energy insecurity, contested mineral extraction rights, the dangers of global climate change, population growth, and general environmental degeneration will trigger and intensify conflict over natural resources across and within national borders in years to come. These pressure points call for a critical re-assessment of existing and evolving principles of natural resource governance internationally; and of ideas concerning the normative foundation of rights to natural resources.

In his forthcoming book, to be published by Oxford University Press, Chris Armstrong presents a comprehensive study of justice in natural resource distribution. This symposium, which is sponsored by the Society for Applied Philosophy, aims to advance the debate on justice and the distribution of natural resources by taking Armstrong’s highly original and timely book as our starting point.


Invited speakers: Chris Armstrong (Southampton); Clare Heyward (Warwick); Alejandra Mancilla (Oslo); David Miller (Oxford); Margaret Moore (Queen’s, Canada); Cara Nine (Cork)

Organisers: Megan Blomfield (Bristol); Fabian Schuppert (Queen’s, Belfast)

This event is open to all but spaces are limited. Please email to register.

Sep 03

New C2G2 Seminar Series

Hi everyone,

Check out the new seminar series for this semester on our Events page.



Sep 01

New research output

John Boswell has published a paper in the latest Perspectives on Politics. Details are below:

Title: “Deliberating Downstream: Countering democratic distortions in the policy process.”

DOI: 10.1017/S1537592716001146


Sep 01

Grant success

John Boswell and Paul Cairney (Stirling) have been successful in the latest BA/Leverhulme Small Grants round. Details are below:

Investigators: John Boswell and Paul Cairney (Stirling)

Title: Who own the prevention agenda?

Short abstract: The early part of this decade saw great enthusiasm for the idea of ‘preventative’ policymaking, but government support now seems to be ebbing. This project will track what has happened to the prevention agenda, who (if anyone) now ‘owns’ it, and if (and how) they are seeking to reinvigorate support. We will do so through an in depth qualitative comparison of arms-length agencies devoted to the promotion of preventative health across the four nations of the UK.

Sep 01

Upcoming workshop with Prof John Parkinson (Griffith)

We have scheduled a workshop with John Parkinson, visiting from Griffith, to discuss his project ‘Sparking a National Conversation’. It will be on Tuesday, October 11 from 3-5pm in 58/4121. Apologies to anyone teaching or otherwise committed at this time, but we needed to schedule it outside the normal C2G2 seminar slots. Look forward to seeing you there!

Sep 01

New Research Output

Ben Saunders has a new paper out in leading philosophy journal Mind. Details are below:

Title: ‘Reformulating Mill’s Harm Principle’
DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzv171

May 26

New research output!

John Boswell has published a new paper in BJPIR detailing the fizzling out of the ‘fat bomb’ in obesity policy debate. Check it out here.


May 26

Research news!

Ming-chin Monique Chu’s research monograph, The East Asian Computer Chip War (Hardback, Routledge, 2013)will be released as a paperback on 4 June 2016 by Routledge. See the publisher’s link and the reviews of the book below:

May 26

New research output!

Ming-chin Monique Chu has published a new article in The China Quarterly examining the process, causes and repercussions of the accession of Taiwan, as a contested state, together with China, to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1991, the first intergovernmental organization that Taipei has joined since 1971.

Chu, Ming-Chin Monique (2016) No need to beg China? Taiwan’s membership of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as a contested state. The China Quarterly, 225, 169-189. (doi:10.1017/S030574101500171X).

Readers can download the accepted version from the link below:

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