OnDemocracy is a new initiative at the University of Sydney’s Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR). Its work explores the fresh political thinking and imaginative remedies that are required to deal with the many novel, exciting and dangerous trends of our times.
The researchers, policy makers and practitioners associated with OnDemocracy share a bold view of democracy as both a form of government and a way of life based on the refusal of arbitrary power. They rethink the ideals and practices of democracy with a strong sense of context and history. OnDemocracy specialises in a rich variety of subjects, including public disaffection with representative government; gender, power and politics; the biosphere and environmental movements; urban design, the rapid growth of cross-border governing institutions and democratic innovations. It is concerned as well with new communications media, journalism and the future of literacy; indigenous peoples; the future of citizenship; religion and public and private ethics; authoritarian regimes and the spread of phantom democracy; and the changing dynamics between capitalism, the rule of law and human rights.
OnDemocracy draws on cross-disciplinary perspectives and public engagement with practitioners and makes room for the findings of political thinkers, economists, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists and historians, comparative political scientists, public policy analysts and country-studies specialists.
The OnDemocracy initiative is also committed to shifting thinking about democracy towards the Asia and Pacific region, which is rapidly becoming a globally significant testing ground of new political trends that may be preparing us for a world beyond democracy as we know it today.
The specific goals of OnDemocracy include:
- Challenging prevailing orthodoxies and developing imaginative new perspectives on the past, present and future of democracy;
- Hosting innovative public events and visits of scholars and practitioners; and
- Working towards the formation of a global network of researchers, engaging policy makers and establishing dialogues and collaborations with local, regional and global audiences about the state of democracy, past, present and future