Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

The Elusive Demos: Democracy in the Digital Age

April 20, 2016, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Science Center, Lecture Hall A, 1 Oxford Street


Democratic societies are caught up in unprecedented political upheavals that are questioning some long-established principles of representative government.  Do political parties matter?  Are compromise and civility necessary for governing well?  Do interests and identities take precedence over other bases for solidarity, including the ties of nationhood?  All four countries represented on this panel—US, UK, Israel, India—are confronting these challenges in unique ways.  In each, new digital technologies are centrally implicated in turning conventional democratic processes on their heads. Our discussion will be led by four of the most provocative and knowledgeable voices contributing to democratic theory today, all with specific insights into the realignment of politics and political subjectivities in the digital age. Video of this lecture is located here.


Yaron Ezrahi

Gerstein Family Professor Emeritus of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Andy Stirling

Professor, Science and Technology Policy, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex

Shiv Visvanathan

Professor and Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal University

Jane Mansbridge

Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Harvard Kennedy School

Moderated by

Sheila Jasanoff

Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies

Yaron Ezrahi is Gerstein Family Professor Emeritus of Political Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is known for his work on the relations between modern science and the rise of the modern liberal democratic state and the political uses of scientific knowledge and authority.

Andy Stirling is Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex. He has served on the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances and GM Science Review Panel as well as the European Commission’s Expert Group on Science and Governance.

Shiv Visvanathan is an Indian public intellectual and social scientist best known for his contributions to the field of Science and Technology Studies, and for the concept of cognitive justice. He is Professor and Vice Dean of Jindal Global Law School at O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonepat.

Jane Mansbridge is Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of Beyond Adversary Democracy, and the award-winning Why We Lost the ERA. She was President of the American Political Science Association in 2012-2013.