JAMIE (JAMES) POW
Thesis Title: Strengthening Post-Conflict Democracy: Examining the Potential Legitimacy of a Citizens’ Assembly in Northern Ireland
Office: 31 University Square 0G/007
Research Interests: Political behaviour, political psychology, Northern Ireland politics, consociationalism, post-conflict democracy, deliberative democracy, legislative studies, electoral behaviour, comparative politics, quantitative methods, experimental methods.
The literature on ‘democratic deficits’ is extensive and growing. In deeply divided societies, it can be particularly difficult to establish and maintain a set of institutions that can effectively and efficiently represent the people they serve. My doctoral research examines the idea of a citizens’ assembly as one potential way of enhancing the quality of democracy in a challenging environment.
In Northern Ireland, a consociational political system was established in order to manage deep – and violent – divisions. In practice, however, political crises have become routine. These crises undermine citizens’ satisfaction with the system and pose an existential threat to the future of devolved decision-making in the region.
Under the supervision of Professors John Garry and Rhiannon Turner, my research experimentally examines the extent to which a citizens’ assembly would be perceived as a legitimate response to political crisis. If elected politicians cannot govern, could a random sample of ordinary citizens take decisions instead? Would these decisions be accepted as legitimate by the public as a whole? Are there specific conditions under which a citizens’ assembly would be perceived as more or less legitimate? My PhD thesis addresses these practical questions of political psychology and institutional design.
Before coming to Queen’s I completed my Masters in Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. My MA thesis examined the role of political experience in the careers of Canadian Members of Parliament.
Alongside my research, I am the Deputy Editor of Northern Slant and teach on an undergraduate quantitative methods module. A full list of publications and research activities is available on my PURE profile.
In 2017 I will be a Visiting PhD Student at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra.