One of the clearest findings from research on democratic participation is that the poorest members of society are those least likely to engage in a wide range of democratic activities, such as voting, political party membership, or civic activism. However, while existing work has provided a detailed account of the dynamics of engagement in democracy, much less is known about how precisely socio-economic status works to depress participation.
This talk addresses these issues by presenting findings from a detailed case study of Blackbird Leys, near Oxford, highlighting the importance of context in understanding the ways in which participation plays out, with the results suggesting that the particular configurations of social infrastructure in deprived areas can be important in determining both the form and level of democratic participation.
Rod Dacombe is Director of the Centre for British Politics and Government at King’s College, London and is currently a Visiting Fellow at Keble College and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. He has published widely on issues related to democracy and democratic participation and has acted as an expert advisor to bodies including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs and the Mayor of London. While at Oxford, he is working on a new project investigating the implications of conspiracy theories for democracy.
Farah Elahi is the Head of Community Engagement at the Greater London Authority.Whilst at the GLA, she has led on the Civil Society Strategy and City Hall’s work on supporting a thriving sector. Farah’s previous roles include Research and Policy Analyst at the Runnymede Trust, and the Family and Childcare Trust. Her research has focused on ethnic inequality in London, employment and education. Published reports include a number of local Race Equality Scorecards and policy briefings, Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all, and Nations Divided: How to Teach the History of Partition and Ethnic Inequalities in London: Capital for All.