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Personal profile


Jean-Paul Gagnon is a philosopher of democracy specializing in democratic theory. He joined the University of Canberra at the beginning of July, 2015.

He co-founded, and co-edits, the Berghahn (Oxford/New York) journal Democratic Theory and established, and now co-edits, the Palgrave Macmillan book series The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy (both with Mark Chou from the Australian Catholic University).

Gagnon’s research into democracy is driven by three programs. The first is an ongoing empirical effort to catalog democracy’s adjectives – so far 1,217 have been found in the English literature – and to inquire about what knowing these adjectives may come to mean or be used for. The second is to continue contributing to the theory of non-human democracy by trying to draw lessons for human democracies from the practices of non-human others (e.g. how do different non-human species solve collective action problems and what, from this, resonates with the theory or practice of democracy today?). The third is to contribute to globalising the history of democracy from a democratic theory perspective which interacts with what John Keane, Benjamin Isakhan, Yves Schemeil, Steve Muhlberger and Phil Paine, and Martin Bernal, among others, have been doing. 

His recent publications and interests span democracy's many histories (forgotten democracies, narrative, comparison, discourse analysis, epistemology, is democracy even human?), finding ways forward among a number of problems or puzzles that democracies presently face (democracies across dialogues; democracy education / civics and young people, democracy apps, critical and normative arguments, political reform), and critically theorizing the futures of democracy – those ‘democracies to come’ (Isaiah Berlin, fiction, posthumanism, futurism, normative arguments, Anthropocene / Holocene democracy).

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To view Jean-paul's The Conversation profile, please click here.

Related Links

External positions

Editor, Democratic Theory

1 Jan 2014 → …

Book series editor, Palgrave Macmillan

1 Jan 2013 → …

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Research Output 2010 2018

2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism

GAGNON, J-P., 1 Jun 2018, In : Democratic Theory. 5, 1, p. 92-113 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Editorial: Democratic Theory - Winter 2017

Chou, M. & Gagnon, J. P., 1 Jan 2017, In : Democratic Theory. 4, 2, p. 1-2 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Democratic Theory

Building a Gramsci-Foucault Axis of Democracy

GAGNON, J-P., 2015, Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment. Krepts, D. (ed.). Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited, p. 75-90 16 p.

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter

twenty-first century
political sociology
political theory

Editorial: Democratic Theory - Summer 2015

Chou, M. & Gagnon, J. P., 1 Jun 2015, In : Democratic Theory. 2, 1, p. 1-3 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

deliberative democracy
1 Citation (Scopus)

Putting participation on stage: examining participatory theatre as an alternative site for political participation

Chou, M., GAGNON, J-P. & Pruitt, L., 2015, In : Policy Studies. 36, 6, p. 607-622 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

political participation