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Dates and Times

19 September 2023
11:00 - 12:00


Building: 24
Room: Fishbowl


Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Sonia Bussu

Participation as Assemblage

This event is hybrid. Join us on Zoom or at Building 24, University of Canberra.

Participation as Assemblage

Can assemblage theory help us study democratic innovations and participatory governance more broadly? To develop analyses that capture the dynamism, complexity, and messiness of participatory practices we need to overcome the linearity and oversimplification that sometimes characterise methodological approaches in the field. An assemblage perspective encourages understanding of participation as an ecology, bringing in the role of non-human and material elements. By forcing us to pay attention to change and the contingency of participation, which is understood as in a continuous state of “becoming”, and by encouraging methodological openness, flexibility and uncertainty, an assemblage perspective might also inform different approaches to participatory design.

My paper – co-authored with Katy Rubin – tests the analytical power and the limitations of an assemblage frame, by presenting an evaluation of Mindset Revolution, a youth-led project on democracy and mental health. The project was informed by assemblage theory’s epistemological commitments to multiplicity and interactive processes that can help capture the uncertainty in both participatory practices and policymaking pathways.

This seminar will be chaired by Nicole Curato.

Additional Information

About the speaker

Sonia Bussu is associate professor of Public Policy at INLOGOV. Her main research interests are participatory governance and participatory action research. Over the years, she has led research and published on participatory and deliberative processes, community engagement, coproduction of public services, and participatory research ethics.

Online floor manager: Ferdinand Sanchez

Chair: Nicole Curato

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