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Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra. My work sits at the intersection of normative democratic theory and empirical political research, and examines a wide range of topics including: the prospects for democratic inclusion in multicultural societies, public deliberation in the face of value conflicts and polarised public debates, and the potential of new forms of political participation and protest movements in reviving democracy. 

My recent book, Mending Democracy. Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times (2020, Oxford University Press, with Hendriks and Boswell) examines how citizens, politicians and public servants respond to the crisis of democracy, and how they seek to address the problem of disconnection(s) in contemporary democracies. The book suggests shifting our attention from the institutions to the actors, and from the normative models to the everyday practices of democracy. It invites scholars and practitioners seeking to reform democracy to pay more attention to everday practices of democratic mending, rather than relying so much on recipies for institutional design. 

I have published over 40 articles and book chapters on the theory and practice of deliberative democracy, social movements, multiculturalism, and social science research methods. My publications have appeared in leading journals including: International Political Science Review, Policy and Politics, Political Studies, Environmental Politics, and Social Movement Studies. Two of my recent articles won the best paper prize of the journal, Policy and Politics in 2018 and 2020.  

I have received research grants and fellowships from, among others, Australian Research Council (multiple grants), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Australian National University (Australia), Heinrich Böll Foundation (Germany), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada).  I have held research positions at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (Germany), Australian National University; as well as visiting research/teaching positions in the Political Science programs of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Nagoya University (Japan) and Stuttgart University (Germany).

I received my PhD in Political Science from Australian National University (thesis supervisor: Prof John Dryzek), my MA in Political Science/Political Theory and Sociology from University of Heidelberg (thesis supervisor: Prof Wolfgang Merkel) and my BA in Political Science from Middle East Techinical Univeristy,

I speak English, German and Turkish.


Selected Publications


  • Ercan, S.A., Asenbaum, H., Curato, N. and Mendonça, R.F. (eds.) (2022) Research Methods in Deliberative Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press (in press).
  • Hendriks, C., Ercan, S.A. and Boswell, J. (2020) Mending Democracy: Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Full list of publications available in GoogleScholar


Current Positions outside of the Institution


Current Projects and Reserach Grants

1. Democratic Resilience: The Public Sphere and Extremist Attacks (funded by Australian Research Council) 

Chief Investigator, Discovery Project (2021-24, $511,000). This project aims to explain responses to extremist attacks intended to sow division, and why some democracies prove fragile, succumbing to polarisation or exclusion of key groups, while others prove resilient by sustaining integrative, tolerant discourse. The project develops new knowledge through an innovative synthesis of cultural sociology and deliberative democracy to analyse nine cases of responses in the public realm to attacks. 

2. Monitoring Deliberative Integrity in Australia (funded by Australian Research Council)

Chief Investigator, Special Research Initiative Grant (2021-24, $202,106). This project aims to develop and apply the concept of deliberative integrity as a counterpart to more familiar ideas about electoral integrity in the evaluation of democratic processes. The project develops significant new knowledge about the ethical conduct of Australian citizen engagement processes through conceptual and methodological innovation to produce a Deliberative Integrity Monitoring Tool that will be applied to the expanding range of deliberative democratic innovations in Australia.

3. Connecting to Parliament: An Experiment in Directly Representative Democracy (funded by Ohio State University, USA)

Chief Investigator (2020-present). This project seeks to link a representative sample of constituents with their elected official in productive town hall conversations about the issues that are subject to parliamentary debate in Australia. The project seeks to involve more Australians in the democratic process, and to expand knowledge about the potential benefits and uses of deliberative democracy. For more information about this project, please visit here.

4. Participedia (funded by Social Sciences and Humaniteis Research Council, Canada)

Co-investigator (2017-present). I lead the Australian contingent of this project at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, Univeristy of Canberra.  The project seeks to develop systematic and practical information on the variety of democratic innovations taking place in Australia. The project aims to 1) comprehensively catalogue current and past participatory Australian political processes and 2) explore emergent themes and lessons from Australian cases 3) develop a future research agenda for learning across cases to provide systematic and practical advice for researchers and practitioners worldwide. These objectives feed into Participedia’s primary aims of mapping democratic innovations, explaining and assessing their contribution to democracy and most importantly, transferring this knowledge back into practice. For more information, please visit the project's site.


PhD Students 


1. Sahana Sehgal (Primary Supervisor) 

2. Madeleine Egan (Secondary Supervisor) 

3. Anne Jedzini (Secondary Supervisor) 

4. Friedel Marquardt (Secondary Supervisor)

5. Dianne Phillips (Secondary Supervisor)

6. Flavia Hanlen (Secondary Supervisor)

7. Jane Phuong (Advisor)


1. Jane Alver (Primary Supervisor)

2. Kei Nishiyama (Secondary Supervisor) 

3. Samuel Antero (Secondary Supervisor)

4. Thaneshwar Bhusal (Advisor) 

5. Catherine Clutton (Secondary Supervisor) 

6. Emma Vines (Secondary Supervisor) 

7. Cletius Puteho (Primary Supervisor) 


Related Links

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Australian National University

Master, Heidelberg University 

Bachelor, Middle East Technical University


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