The Constitution Unit


Democratic Competition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

12 December 2018

Read the blog post here

In this seminar, distinguished US academic Ian Shapiro draws from his new book with Frances Rosenbluth – Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (Yale University Press, 2018). He will discuss the varieties of political competition across the democratic world, and suggests that efforts to reform political parties over the past several decades to make them more democratic have backfired – compounding voter alienation, undermining good governance, and empowering demagogues and other populists. He will also provide his analysis about what needs to be done to reverse the trend. Dr Sherrill Stroschein will offer a response to these thoughts.


  •  Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Centre for International and Area Studies. Shapiro is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town, Keio University in Tokyo, Sciences Po in Paris, and Nuffield College, Oxford. His most recent books are The Real World of Democratic Theory (Princeton University Press, 2012) Politics Against Domination (Harvard University Press, 2016), and, with Frances Rosenbluth, Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (Yale University Press, 2018). His current research concerns the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth.
  • Dr Sherrill Stroschein, Reader in Politics at Department of Political Science, University College London. Previously an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Ohio University. Her research examines the politics of ethnicity in democratic and democratising states, especially democratic processes in states with mixed ethnic or religious populations. 
  • Meg Russell, Professor of British and Comparative Politics and Director of the Constitution Unit at The Constitution Unit, University College London. Meg Russell began at UCL as a Senior Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit in August 1998, and is now the Unit's Director. She leads its research work on parliament and is particularly known for her work on the British House of Lords, bicameralism, and parliamentary policy influence. She has also written in the past on political party organisation, candidate selection, women's representation in politics and political psychology.