was a panel Darcy Leigh organized at this year’s Policy & Politics conference, with additional papers by Oliver Escobar, Deborah Holman and Sophie Thunus…

What is democracy made of? How is it done? It is an idea and a set of institutions, to be sure, but what are its constituent practices? What work is involved in demonstrating, debating and deciding in democratic societies?

This panel is designed to identify and explore the ways in which democracy is realised – or not – in situated human action. We are interested in the work of administration and implementation as well as representation and participation: what does it take to march or strike or camp; to campaign or lobby; to convene a consultation or set up a polling station; to chair or take part in a meeting? What kinds of work or performance do the practices of politics entail?

We are specifically interested in detailed case studies which treat the actions and interactions of which democratic politics is composed, and which consider the knowledge, norms, spaces, events, texts, bodies and artefacts on which it turns. They may be local, national or international in scope, and will draw on disciplinary perspectives including sociology, anthropology, history, geography, cultural studies and STS as well as policy and politics.