Carolyn’s work examines the democratic aspects of contemporary governance, particularly with respect to participation, deliberation, inclusion and representation. She has taught and published widely on the application and politics of inclusive and deliberative forms of citizen engagement. Her recent work is exploring alternative modes of political participation, particularly those enabled by online and offline spaces of political contestation. 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.
- Citizen engagement in public policy
- The practice and theory of deliberative democracy
- Democratic innovation
- Alternative forms of political participation
- Environmental politics
- Interpretive method of political research
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.
Democratic Innovation in the Mainstream: Exploring ways to innovate in conventional spaces of citizen engagement and politics more broadly