Northwestern Events Calendar


Democracy for Busy People

When: Monday, May 15, 2023
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, Ripton Room 201, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Global Theory Workshop as they host Kevin Elliott, political theorist and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Murray State University.

Advances an alternative approach to democratic reform that focuses on building institutions that empower people who have little time for politics. How do we make democracy more equal? Although in theory, all citizens in a democracy have the right to participate in politics, time-consuming forms of participation often advantage some groups over others. Where some citizens may have time to wait in long lines to vote, to volunteer for a campaign, to attend community board meetings, or to stay up to date on national, state, and local news, other citizens struggle to do the same. Since not all people have the time or inclination to devote substantial energy to politics, certain forms of participation exacerbate existing inequalities.

Democracy for Busy People takes up the very real challenge of how to build a democracy that empowers people with limited time for politics. While many plans for democratic renewal emphasize demanding forms of political participation and daunting ideals of democratic citizenship, political theorist Kevin J. Elliott proposes a fundamentally different approach. He focuses instead on making democratic citizenship undemanding so that even busy people can be politically included. This approach emphasizes the core institutions of electoral democracy, such as political parties, against deliberative reforms and sortition. Timely and action-focused, Democracy for Busy People is necessary reading.

Kevin Elliott is a political theorist and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Murray State University. His main research interests are in political theory and American politics, specifically regarding democratic theory and public opinion. Thematically, his research focuses on the ethics of democratic citizenship and the normative justification and design of political institutions, particularly in order to promote the representation of marginalized groups. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and a Master of Science in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Affairs at UCLA, where he earned departmental and collegiate honors and graduated summa cum laude.

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