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Political Inclusion and Citizens’ Empowerment

Across the world, citizens feel disempowered and often disenchanted with politics. Politics seems out of reach (taking place at a distance from ordinary people) and alien (due to the erosion of intermediary forms of political association and of the institutions supporting critical public discussion). In the Centre for Political Thought, we take the capacity for inclusion and the opportunities for citizens’ empowerment to be the true tests of political systems. We investigate ways to empower citizens through politics, including workers councils and workplace democracy, social platform organizing, anarchist cooperatives, citizens assemblies, social movements, representative systems, engagement in the public sphere, and participatory instruments in both democratic and authoritarian societies.

Dr Dario Castiglione

Dario Castiglione’s main areas of research comprise democratic theory and the history of early modern political philosophy. He has written on representation, citizenship and constitutionalism; theories of civil society and social capital; the constitutional nature of the European Union; the Scottish Enlightenment, Hume and Mandeville; and 18th-century theories of the social contract and of their crittiques, and early modern scepticism. His main current research interests are on representation and political legitimacy; and the way in which political and conceptual discourses translates across linguistic and cultural divides


Dr Lise Herman

Lise Herman’s research bridges the fields of comparative politics, party studies and normative democratic theory, with a primary focus on the theory and practice of democratic partisanship. She has written extensively on the role of partisan agency in the contemporary crisis facing representative democracy. This includes the rise of the populist radical right in established democracies and processes of democratic backsliding in newly established democracies - with a particular focus on Hungarian politics.


Dr Xianan Jin 

Xianan is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. She joined the department in September 2022. Xianan has studied politics and practised feminism in Beijing, Taipei, Bologna, London and Kigali. She is interested in the representation and resistance of gendered subjects in global politics, and how gendered subjects from rich and poor backgrounds participate in politics differently. For her first book project, she did her fieldwork in Rwanda for a year to investigate women’s engagement with politics after the genocide in 1994. This book is based on her PhD thesis, The Political Economy of Women's Political Participation in Rwanda: Gender, Class and Statebuilding, at SOAS, University of London.



Dr James Muldoon

James Muldoon’s current research interest is on the digital co-operative economy and fairer alternatives to platforms such as Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo. He is currently working on two grants: “Platforming Equality: Policy Challenges for the Digital Economy” funded by the ESRC and “Co-Designing a Food Delivery Platform Co-operative” with assistance from Not-Equal, a UKRI funding network. His previous research has examined political campaigning, social movements and political parti; in particular the democratic socialist tradition in the European labour movement, including study of workers’ councils and the political thought of figures such as Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Kautsky, Anton Pannekoek, Karl Korsch and Richard Müller. His other research interests comprise the rise of populism and the electoral success of the far right; the traditions of community organising; and in political philosophy, German Idealism, French post-structuralists, and Italian post-Marxists.


Dr Catherine Owen

Catherine Owen’s main research interests concern participatory governance under authoritarianism, with a focus on Russia and China. Dr Owen’s work explores the ways in which citizens are encouraged to participate in local policy-making and delivery in Russia and China. This research has been published in a variety of articles, and is the subject of an ongoing book manuscript. In addition to this focus, she has also pursued research on decolonial and non-Western approaches to knowledge production in International Relations.


Dr Andrew Schaap

Andrew Schaap’s main area of research is contemporary political theory. His book Political Reconciliation drew on the thought of Hannah Arendt to conceptualize reconciliation as a political undertaking in societies divided by a history of state violence. His is broadly interested in theories of radical democracy, and particularly in the politics of migration, racism and anti-racist politics, political struggles of indigenous peoples, transitional justice, politics and literature, and political thought of the twentieth century.

Dario Castiglione
‘The system of democratic representation and its normative principles’, in eds. Maurizio Cotta and Federico Russo, Research Handbook on Political Representation, Edward Elgar Publishing (2020), pp. 16-35.

From Maastricht to Brexit: Democracy in Europe’s Mixed-Polity, Rowan and Littlefield International (co-authored with Richard Bellamy), (2019)

‘Rethinking Representation: Eight Theoretical Issues and a Postscript’ (with Mark Warren), in eds. Lisa Disch, Nadia Urbinati, and Mathijs van de Sande, The Constructivist Turn in Representation, Edinburgh University Press (2019), pp. 21-47

Creating Political Presence: The New Politics of Representation (co-edited with Johannes Pollack), Chicago University Press, 2018.

Institutional Diversity in Self-governing Societies (co-edited with Filippo Sabetti), Rowan and Littelfield, Lexington Books, 2017

Constitutional Politics in the EU: The Convention Moment and its Aftermath (et. al), Palgrave.

Xianan Jin

Female Street Vendors' (dis)engagement with Politics in Rwanda (Excursions Journal, 2019) 

Land Dispossession as Continuum of Violence: Women’s Political Agency in Post-genocide Rwanda (Under Review of the Journal of Peasant Studies)

Jenna Sapiano and Gina Heathcote. Adding Women Isn't Enough: An Intersectional Approach to Women’s Inclusion in Peace Mediation (Under Review of Gender and Politics)

Bice Maiguashca
‘Making Feminist Sense of Precarity Politics,’ Contemporary Political Theory, issue 2, 2020.

‘Did Somebody Say Populism? Towards a Renewal and Reorientation of Populism Studies’ (with J. Dean), Journal of Political IdeologiesVol. 25, Issue 1, 2020, 11-27.

‘Resisting the ‘Populist Hype’: A Feminist Critique of a Globalizing Concept,’ Review of International StudiesVol. 45, issue 5, 2019, 768-785.

‘Lovely People but Utterly Deluded’? British Political Science’s Trouble with Corbynism’ (with J. Dean), British Politics, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2019, 48-68.

‘Corbynism, Populism and the Re-shaping of Left Politics in Contemporary Britain’ (with J. Dean), in Katsambekis G, Kioupkiolis A (Eds.) The Populist Radical Left in Crisis-Hit Europe, Routledge, 2018.
‘Gender, Power and Left Politics: from Feminisation to “Feministisation”’ (with J. Dean), Politics and Gender, 14, 2018, 376-406.

‘Theorising Feminist Organising in and against Neoliberalism: Beyond Co-optation and Resistance? (with C. Eschle), European Journal of Politics and Gender, 2018.

‘Resisting the ‘Populist Hype’: A Feminist Critique of a Globalizing Concept,’ Review of International StudiesVol. 45, issue 5, 2019, 768-785.

James Muldoon
‘After Council Communism: the Post-War Rediscovery of the Council Tradition,’ Intellectual History Review (RIHR) (forthcoming)

‘Conceptualising Party-Driven Movements. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations(forthcoming)

‘Foucault’s Forgotten Hegelianism,’ Parrhesia: a journal of critical philosophy, vol. 21, 102-112 (forthcoming)

‘Institutionalizing Radical Democracy: Socialist Republicanism and Democratizing the Economy. New Political Science: a journal of politics and culture, 43(1) (forthcoming)

Building Power to Change the World: The Political Thought of the German Council Movements. Abstract, Oxford University Press, 2020.

‘A socialist republican theory of freedom and government,’ European Journal of Political Theory, 2019.

Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics (ed.), London, Routledge, 2018.

Trumping the Mainstream: the Conquest of Democratic Politics by the Populist Radical Right (ed. With Lise Herman), London, Routledge, 2018.

‘Arendtian Principles’. Political Studies, 64(1_suppl), 2016, 121-135.

‘The Origins of Hannah Arendt’s Council System,’ History of Political Thought, 3(4), 2016, 761-789.

‘Arendt’s Revolutionary Constitutionalism: Between Constituent Power and Constitutional Form,’ Constellations, vol. 22, no. 4 (2016) pp. 596-607.

Catherine Owen

Li, Zhu and Owen (2022) 'Participatory budgeting and the party: Generating ‘citizens orderly participation’ through party-building in Shanghai', Journal of Chinese Governance, Online First.

‘Social Forces and Street-Level Governance in Shanghai: from Compliance to Participation in Recycling Regulations.’ The China Quarterly (2021) Pages 1-22. (with Qin X)

‘Active Citizens in a Weak State: “Self-Help” Groups and the Post-Soviet Neoliberal Subject in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan.’ Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies 14 (2020) Pages 464-464.

‘Governance and order-making in Central Asia: from illiberalism to post-liberalism?’ Central Asian Survey 39 (2020) Pages 420-437. (with Lottholz P, Heathershaw J, Ismailbekova A, Moldalieva J, McGlinchey E.)

‘Participatory Authoritarianism: from Bureaucratic Transformation to Civic Participation in Russia and China.’ Review of International Studies 43 (2020) Pages 1-20.

‘Book Review Daniel C. Mattingly The Art of Political Control in China.’ Perspectives on Politics, 18 (2020) Pages 1264-1266.

‘The Belt and Road Initiative’s Central Asian Contradictions.’ Current History 119 (2020) Pages 264-269.

‘The “Internationalisation Agenda” and the Rise of the Chinese University: Towards the Inevitable Erosion of Academic Freedom?’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 22 (2020) Pages 238-255.

‘Authoritarian conflict management in post-colonial Eurasia.’ Conflict, Security and Development 19 (2019) Pages 269-273. (with Heathershaw JD)

‘Centred Discourse, Decentred Practice: the Relational Production of Russian and Chinese 'Rising' Power in Central Asia.’ Third World Quarterly 40 (2019) Pages 1440-1458. (with Heathershaw JD, Cooley A.)

‘Civic Participation in a Hybrid Regime: Limited Pluralism in Policymaking and Delivery in Contemporary Russia.’ Government and Opposition 54 (2019) Pages 98-120. (with Bindman E.)

Alex Prichard

Forthcoming. "Anarquismo [Anarchism]." In Teorías Críticas de Relaciones Internacionales, edited by Marta Íñiguez de Heredia Itziar Ruiz-Giménez, Ángela Iranzo. Valencia: Tirant Lo Blanch.

Forthcoming. "Jus Gentium in Proudhon’s War and Peace." In Just War Thinkers, Vol II edited by Daniel Brunstetter and Cian O’Driscoll. Routledge.

Forthcoming. "Kenneth Waltz’s Kantian Moral Philosophy: The ‘Virtues of Anarchy’ Revisited."  International Theory.

‘Taking the state back out and bringing anarchism back in. A review of George Lawson's Anatomies of Revolutions.’ International Politics Reviews (In Press) (2021) Pages 1-7.

‘Anarchism and Global Ethics.’ in Routledge Handbook to Rethinking Ethics in International Relations ed. Schippers B. London: Routledge, 2020. Pages 25-39.

‘Introduction: Pluriversalisty, Convergence and Hybridity in the Global Left.’ Globalizations 17 (2020) Pages 759-765. (with Prichard A, Worth O)

‘Anarchism and Non-Domination. Journal of Political.’ Ideologies 24 (2019) Pages 221-240. (with Kinna R)

‘Liberal Pacification and the Phenomenology of Violence.’ International Studies Quarterly 63 (2019) Pages 199-212. (with Baron I, Havercroft J, Kamola I, Koomen J, Murphy J)

‘Occupy and the Constitution of Anarchy.’ Global Constitutionalism 8 (2019) Pages 357-390. (with Kinna R, Swann T.)

‘Anarchy, anarchism and multiplicity: Preface to a fuller dialogue with Rosenberg.’ International Relations 32 (2018) Pages 246-248.

Andrew Schaap

‘The after rights of the Citizen of the UK and its Colonies: who is the subject of the rights of the citizen in Britain’s hostile environment?,’ The International Journal of Human Rights (2024)

‘Inequality, Loneliness and Political Appearance: Picturing Radical Democracy with Hannah Arendt and Jacques Rancière’, Political Theory 49(1) 2021: 28-53.

‘“Do you not see the Reason for Yourself?” Political Withdrawal and the Experience of Epistemic Friction’, Political Studies, 68(3) 2020: 565-581

Joanie Willett
‘Towards a Participatory Representative Democracy? UK Parish Councils and Community Engagement.’ British Politics 14 (2019) Pages 311-327. (with Cruxon J.)

Dario Castiglione

  • 2011-2013: Grant in support of FP7 Intra-European Marie Curie fellowship (Dr Sandra Kroeger)
  • 2004-2007: IP on ‘New Methods of Governance’ (NEWGOV)
  • 2002-2005: RTD consortium on ‘Citizenship and democratic legitimacy in the European Union’ (CIDEL)
  • 1999-2002: ESRC Research Grant on ‘Strategies of Civic Inclusion in Pan-European Civil Society’ (main co-ordinator) as part of the Programme on ‘One Europe or Several’
  • 1998-2000: TSER Network on European Citizenship (EURCIT), Scientist in Charge for Exeter

Bice Maiguashca

  • 2015-17: Leverhulme Grant on ‘Exploring Left-Wing Populism in an Age of Anti-Politics’
  • 2013-2014: British Academy Grant on ‘Gendering Protest - A Gender Analysis of Contemporary Radical Activism in the UK’

James Muldoon

  • Current ESRC grant: ‘Platforming Equality: Policy challenges for the digital economy’
  • Current Not-equal grant (UKRI network): ‘Co-designing a food delivery platform cooperative’.

Catherine Owen

  • 2017-2020: British Academy Fellowship: ‘Civic participation from discourse to action in non-democracies’.

Alex Prichard

Andrew Schaap

  • 2011: AHRC Fellowship on ‘Human rights and the political: Insurgent citizenship at the Aboriginal Tend Embassy
Political Inclusion and Citizens’ Empowerment
The Representative Disconnect (REDIRECT)

REDIRECT is a four-year research project funded (€3 millions) by the Horizon Programme (and UKRI for the Exeter participation). It aims is to enhance our understanding of the current transformations of representative democracy in Europe at national and supranational level, assessing whether the centre of gravity of democratic representation is shifting away from the traditional forms of political intermediation, such as parties, parliaments, and party-based government, towards other forms of political representation. Its focus is on the representative disconnect, a multidimensional phenomenon of regression of the demos-kratos linkage involving institutional, behavioural and affective components, which risks undermining the trust in and legitimacy of the overall system of democratic representation. The two main questions REDIRECT addresses are: a) what are the nature, scope, aspects and causes of the representative disconnect; and b) how can the current representative disconnect be addressed, ameliorated, and/or rectified?