Contact democracy for the hyper-connected age

Date: 9 December 2014 Time: 18:00 - 19:30 Location: London


9 December 2014


18:00 - 19:30



Contact democracy for the hyper-connected age

Low voter turnout, falling party membership, plummeting trust in politicians, and the haemorrhaging of mainstream votes to populist parties and competitors, from the UK independence party to the Greens and Scottish National party.

Alongside political fragmentation, disengagement among young generations and backlash against the economic and political elite who have failed to govern responsibly, these trends indicate that traditional representative democracy is facing a dual legitimacy and efficacy crisis.

This public event will investigate how we can reinvigorate our democratic institutions and political parties for the 21st century in a hyper-connected age, looking at democratic innovations and experiments in deliberative and contact democracy.

Key questions:

Should progressives push for more deliberative and contact democracy? Or do people just want government to function effectively, without necessarily wanting to be involved in the political process?

Could incorporating more deliberative approaches into politics help increase democratic legitimacy and efficiency, easing some of the drivers of populism?

Today relationships are more horizontal and less hierarchical than they were in the past. To survive as legitimate forms of representation, how can parties harness the power of digital to reflect this fundamental change?


Is traditional party democracy dying? Experiments with deliberative approaches and ‘mini-publics’

David Farrell, professor at University College Dublin, president of the Political Studies Association of Ireland, and research director of the Irish Constitutional Convention

Responses and panel debate on UK politics:

Kathryn Perera, chief executive of Movement for Change

Georgia Gould, Kentish Town Councillor and author of Wasted: How misunderstanding Britain's youth threatens our future (forthcoming)

Anthony Painter, author of Left without a future? Social justice in anxious times


John McDermott, columnist at the Financial Times

This event is part of Policy Network and the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s project on “Understanding the Populist Signal”, exploring the drivers of populism and scope for renewal of approaches to governance and representation in populist times.

Further information

Main contact: Emma Kinloch

Telephone: 020 7340 2200