I am currently leading two Australian Research Council projects.

1. The organised interest system in Australian public policy: Size, focus, impact and transformation

Organised interest systems that seek to influence public policy-making are undergoing rapid transformation. Some researchers focus on the post-war professionalisation of advocacy; others suggest that the internet is positively (re)shaping the structure of such systems and their democratic capacities. This project adjudicates on such accounts through exploring the size and composition, through time, of the Australian system of organised interests. Using innovative methodologies, it assesses the presence and prominence of particular interests in legislative, administrative, print-media and ‘on -line’ arenas. Through a theoretically original, national case study, it will contribute to international scholarship in this important area.

The project [DP140104097] was funded in the 2013 ARC Discovery scheme round, and will commence in July 2014.

Visit the project web page here

2. Crowdsourcing Political Engagement (with Prof. Ariadne Vromen, University of Sydney)

Many arguments have been made concerning the way 21st century ‘digital disruption’ is transforming our everyday lives. This project will be the first large-scale examination of the transformation of political activism and citizen-led campaigning in the digital age in Australia. It will focus on how crowdsourced forms of political engagement are facilitated by digital tools that let citizens share political information and calls to action. In particular it will identify the extent and character of crowdsourcing e-tactics: petitioning, boycotting, buycotting, and micro-donations. The project will adjudicate on the proposition that crowd sourced means of political engagement offer a qualitatively different type of political engagement.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

Recently completed projects I have been involved in with colleagues from the UK, Europe and the US include:

1. Interest Group Organization in Nascent Policy Environments

New or nascent policy spaces open up as a result of technological breakthroughs, new information or even focussing events/crisis. This project explores how groups negotiate this nascent environment. Do new groups form or old ones shift into new terrain? How do new groups organise themselves in this new space? How do populations develop in the nascent environment? How important are group entrepreneurs to the formation effort? The project is funded by a SCANCOR Alumus Grant from Stanford University. I lead a team composed of Anthony Nownes (University of Tennessee) and Kurt Sandholtz (Stanford/Brigham Young University).

2. The Mobilization of Organized Interests in Policy Making

This project maps the mobilization of organized interests in Scottish public policy – via responses to public policy consultations – over a 25 year period (1982-2007). The project was funded by the UK ESRC (2006-9). Publications resulting from the project have appeared over the past two years in Governance, Journal of European Public Policy, Public Administration and Interest Groups and Advocacy.

3. Interarena: Interest Groups Across Arenas

This project explores the mobilisation of interest groups across political arenas (the legislature, administration and media) in three countries, the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands The project team involves colleagues at the University of Aarhus (Anne Binderkrantz – Coordinator, Helene Helbroe-Pedersen and Peter Munk-Christiansen) and University of Copenhagen (Anne Rasmussen). It is funded by the Danish Research Council (2011-2014). Find the Interarena project website here.

See my CV page for details of research awards.