Carolyn’s work examines the democratic practices of contemporary governance, particularly with respect to public deliberation, inclusion and political representation. She has taught and published widely on the application and politics of inclusive and deliberative forms of citizen engagement. With a background in both political science and environmental engineering, Carolyn has a particular interest in the governance of the environment, as well as science and technology issues. Carolyn teaches graduate courses in the Masters of Public Policy.
Realising Democracy Amid Communicative Plenty (Australian Research Council Discovery Project together with Prof John Dryzek, Dr Selen Ercan, A/Prof Paul Fawcett and Dr Michael Jensen): The ever-increasing volume of political communication (especially online) challenges democracy and effective policy making. This project examines whether, how, why, and to what effect discourse flows within and between different deliberative sites in the new politics of communicative plenty. We apply the idea of deliberative democracy, which puts meaningful communication between citizens and policy makers at the heart of effective governance. It develops a deliberative analysis of controversy surrounding coal seam gas in Australia, using qualitative and ‘big data techniques to collect information.
Understanding how, and to what effect deliberative forms of public engagement connect to institutions of representative democracy: I have been undertaking a series of empirical projects examining how participatory forms of public engagement work alongside the norms, actors and structures of representative democracy. One project specifically looks at connections between mini-publics and legislative committees.
Studying Deliberative Systems: Research into how we best empirically study complex deliberative systems
- Democratic practice and theory (eg. inclusion and political representation)
- Deliberative democracy
- Democratic innovation
- Public participation
- Citizen engagement and public deliberation