Political Process Preferences


Is this what democracy looks like?

I recently received project development funds from GRADE at Goethe University Frankfurt’s AB Fokus Programme to work on funding proposals to rethink the conceptual, ontological and methodological foundations of approaches to studying political process preferences. The idea is to move away from the models of democracy approach, which dominates the current literature, by drawing on insights from democratic systems theory and sociological theories of contingency and ambivalence. Project proposals have been submitted to develop the new theoretical approach, operationalise it into new methods and carry out the research. So watch this space for updates.

Using Q-method to Understand Preferences for Participatory Governance

Q-method is a forced-ranking survey method that enables a detailed exploration of viewpoints on an issue, which I have used to research a variety of different aspects of preferences for participatory governance.

My individual research on the participation preferences of key stakeholders involved with participatory policy-making highlighted that there were sharp differences between the purposes and values that these stakeholders’ associated with participation. It argued that these results show that participatory governance theory and practice needs to better accommodate the legitimate diversity in participation preferences.

With Liz Richardson and Catherine Durose, I examined how key local actors view the relationship between decentralized governance and participatory democratic innovation. We showed that, based on the preferences of these actors, that the association between decentralization and greater public participation has likely been overestimated.

Catherine Durose, Beth Perry, Liz Richardson and I have recently investigated the preferred leadership practices of actors involved in coproducing research. This question has received little attention, given an assumption that coproduction is naturally associated with horizontal, facilitative leadership. Our findings showed that in fact there were diverse preferences in this regard and that leadership practice thus forms a key element of the hidden politics of coproduction.

You can read more about this research in the following publications:

Control or Influence? Conflict or Solidarity? Understanding Diversity in Preferences for Public Participation in Social Policy Decision-Making,
2019. Social Policy & Administration, 53 (1)
Journal Version | Open Access Version

Why Decentralize Decision Making? English Local Actors’ Viewpoints
2019 with Liz Richardson & Catherine Durose. Governance, 32 (1)
Journal Version | Open Access Version

Who Leads in Co-Produced Research?
2021 with Beth Perry, Catherine Durose & Liz Richardson in Transdisciplinary Knowledge Co-Production: A Guide for Sustainable Cities, Practical Action.
Link to the Open Access Book

Leadership and the Hidden Politics of Co-Produced Research: A Q-Methodology Study
2021 with Catherine Durose, Beth Perry & Liz Richardson. International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
Journal Version (OA)

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