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My first blog!

My first blog!

Welcome to my first blog. I’m the new Director of Public Participation at the RSA. I’m setting up the Citizen Power project to look at ways in which citizens can influence public policy and the role of public participation in contributing to progressive social change and civic renewal.

I’m now entering my third working week at the RSA having moved from Ipsos MORI where I led their work and thinking on citizen empowerment and deliberative research methods. I loved my time there but the opportunity to come and work at the RSA was an opportunity that had to be taken with both hands!

I'm really excited about the idea of using the blog. It's a real opportunity to experiment with ideas, to reflect upon and communicate the work of the Citizen Power project and engage with people on issues I feel passionately about. The problem is being able to sit still in one place long enough to write it! I was just thinking about something the great German critic, Walter Benjamin, once said. He claimed that you can measure the intensity of a thought by its capacity to leave you motionless. My experience is the opposite. The more intense and exhilarating the idea the more restless I become. Hence my default position is to generally write very quickly!

While my reflections will no doubt be idiosyncratic at times, the blog will cover some key areas of interest to me and the Citizen Power project. In no particular order these will be issues of public policy, philosophy, politics, research methods and how they relate to my work and the RSA. What is the real aim of the blog? Badiou and Ranciere both argue in recent books that the elevation of ‘consensus’ to an almost transcendental category beyond criticism captures an anti-political current in both contemporary political philosophy and mainstream political discourse and policy. According to this definition, this blog is unashamedly ‘political’ (but NOT party political) in so far as I want to actively encourage productive disagreement but with the proviso that an alternative way of seeing or doing things is put forward. If only our political parties adhered to this mantra…


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