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Research Network on

The Sciences of the Democracies

Current Members: 106

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About

The Sciences of the Democracies (SOTD) Research Network begins with the premise that "democracy" and cognate terms bear potentially endless meanings. Recognising that 20th-century democracy theorists, such as Arne Naess and Giovanni Sartori, were correct in their assertions that the work of cataloguing "democracy"'s diverse meanings (still) needs to be done, the Research Network aims to develop just such a terminus technicus (as Naess put it) to help ease confusion about "democracy" (Sartori's wish). But cataloguing is merely the first step in a three-step research program. We also aim to describe and explain concepts of “democracy” for both academic and outreach purposes.  

The SOTD Research Network aims to understand democracy through the recognition that (a) democracy has always meant multiple things, (b) that "democracy" is but one sign from many available signs (e.g. manapori (in Maori), ប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ (brachathibtey in Khmer) or the closely linked ประชาธิปไตย (prachāṭhiptịy in Thai), nền dân chủ (in Vietnamese), kabimamenkabi (in Twi), ప్రజాస్వామ్యం (prajāsvāmyaṁ in Telugu), etc), and (c) that information on these different terms can come to us from across time, space, language, culture, and species (the "ethno-quantic domain").

Our objectives, from this aim, include:

- The description of different species of democracy/manapori/minshu shugi (in Japanese) or the closely linked minjujuui (in Korean)/etc

- The gathering and organization of information about different species of democracy/Volksherrschaft (a cognate term for 'democracy' in German)/ludowładztwo (cognate term for 'democracy' in Polish)/min zhu (in Mandarin Chinese)/etc

- The understanding of how specific species of democracy/etc evolve over time or how many/all of them have evolved over time

- The testing, empirically or otherwise, of different species of democracy/etc under different situations, especially to gain understanding about their ability to "democratize" a space, a process, a people, a mentality, and so forth

- Developing theories around how to understand (or if we can ever understand) all democracies/etc together (a digital humanities, big data, and AI undertaking)

- The analysis of a corpus, or corpuses, of democracy/etc to, for example, identify gaps or imbalances (especially around gender of authors and regions of scholarship)

- And the democratization of the study of democracy/etc so that good relations and mutual learning/support can continue to occur between, for example, practitioners and scholars. 

Publishing:  

  1. Establishing an open-access monograph (book) series with Michigan University Press (submitted, under review);  
  2. Proposing special issues for PRX (ECPR), Comparative Political Theory (Brill), and Democratic Theory (Berghahn);  
  3. Publishing an open-access multi-authored monograph ("The Sciences of the Democracies", submitted, presently under review with Athabasca University Press);  
  4. Producing a series of open access edited collections with Athabasca University Press;  
  5. Preparing the submission of a "public philosophy" book for BiteBack Publishing called "50 Essays on Democracy that Have Nothing to Do with Elections"  

  
Outreach programme:  
  
We are presently developing the world's first open-access, AI-supported, digital encyclopaedia of the "democracies" which will be publishing multi-media content out of "demthings.org". Our aim is for the encyclopaedia to act as the means for organising our research data on, initially, selected marginalised "democracies" in the world. Individual accounts of marginalized "democracy" are treated as artifacts whose descriptions will, in time, refer to each other through hyperlinks to produce a web of knowledge. This work is to be supported by an active, and syndicated, social media strategy.