David Farrell (University College Dublin) on Participatory Democracy


MIR is pleased to present our first interview in a semester-long video series, Multiculturalism in the Age of Trump, in which we aim to analyze the concept of multiculturalism as both a policy framework in democracies around the world and a social reality that manifests in numerous aspects of everyday life. The rise (or, more worryingly, the political legitimization) of white nationalist extremism in the U.S. and Europe threatens both these conceptions of multiculturalism, with disastrous repercussions on people’s livelihoods and international cooperation. Through a series of interviews with academics, NGOs, policymakers and even fellow students, MIR hopes to present a nuanced picture of multiculturalism and its many facets.

We sat down with Professor David Farrell of the University College Dublin, ahead of his lecture at Montréal’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. Farrell, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and expert in the field of electoral systems and party dynamics, has conducted extensive research on the innovative 2012-14 Irish Constitutional Convention, in which Irish parliamentarians as well as rank-and-file citizens randomly selected from the populace were ‘coupled’ in a deliberative process. We spoke about this convention, its implications for other democracies around the world and the potential dangers of populist rhetoric.

Video Production:
Lily Payton (camerawork)
Juliette Bélis (editing)
Ben Aloi (interviewer/media team leader)