Like a Kite Flying in a Hurricane: Democracy in the age of misery

Stream: Panel 57 - Human Rights & Democracy: Deliberative Democracy
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


The presentation provides an overview of a project that examines the character of democracy in the age of misery. It investigates the spaces for political participation, discursive representation and deliberative action in an era marked by both tyranny of emergency and predominance of human misery. It draws on the empirical case of three communities in the Philippines that are “at-risk” of displacement and dispossession in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The paper argues, albeit tentatively, that while democracy is faced with the distinct challenges of technocratic authoritarianism, disaster capitalism and widespread suffering, there remains pockets of resistance and creative contestation which can recalibrate power relations amidst vulnerable social conditions.


Nicole Curato (Presenter), University of Canberra
Nicole Curato is a Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Her work examines the character of democracy in ‘states of emergency,’ paying particular attention to the ways in which post-disaster contexts constrain or facilitate deliberative politics. She first joined the Centre as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Australian National University in 2011 where she worked on an ARC linkage project on the Australian Citizens' Parliament with Prof John Dryzek and Dr Simon Niemeyer.