Dr Quinlan BowmanPostdoctoral Research Fellow



The Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra

Research Interests

Democratic theory, deliberative democracy, innovations in democratic governance, moral philosophy and ethical theory, pragmatist approaches to ethics and social inquiry, philosophy of social science, qualitative and interpretive research methods, comparative political theory, Latin American politics and political thought


I joined the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2016, after completing my PhD in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Currently, I am working on a book project, based on my PhD dissertation, entitled “Deliberative Democracy as Reflexive Social Inquiry.” The project juxtaposes selected aspects of the literature on deliberative democracy with ideas drawn from pragmatist approaches to ethics and social inquiry. Broadly speaking, pragmatists theorize by explicitly drawing on the resources provided to us by our actual practices and by reflecting on the consequences they have for actual lives. I deploy pragmatist ideas to develop a normative theory of the democratic process, meant as a contribution to a public philosophy for citizen participation in democratic governance under conditions of significant cultural diversity. The theory is developed through what I refer to as “anthropological-interpretive inquiry” into lived experiences with “treatment as free and equal in joint or collective decision-making.” The theory is basically a deliberative one; yet, my pragmatist orientation makes me critical of certain depictions of deliberative democracy.

While at the Centre, I will also be collaborating with John Dryzek on his Australian Research Council Fellowship project, Deliberative Worlds: Democracy, Justice and a Changing Earth System. In particular, we will be collaborating on the topic of “deliberative cultures.” Cognitive science suggests that deliberation manifests a universal human competence to reason collectively. Yet, the character of deliberation varies considerably across space and time. Cross-cultural studies of political deliberation thus promise to provide new insight into the various forms that deliberative practices can take and the various circumstances in which they can flourish.

A third project, jointly undertaken with Mark Bevir at the University of California, Berkeley, is entitled “Innovations in Democratic Governance.” The book project, based on a previously published book chapter by the same name, explores how direct citizen participation can feature throughout the varied stages of the public policy cascade. It discusses a range of democratic innovations for public participation. Drawing on case studies from all over the world, the project investigates how public participation can operate at multiple geographical scales – ranging from the neighborhood level all the way up to the transnational – and illustrates how participation at different levels might be linked up. The discussion explores ways that citizens might craft their own rules for participation; monitor those rules and the policies they help generate; and cooperatively implement their own local policies. It also investigates ways in which the role of experts and officials might be transformed into one of largely supporting and facilitating public participation.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2016. PhD in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2009. MA in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2005. BA in Politics (Highest Honors), Oberlin College

Academic Appointments

  • 2016-Present. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

Awards and Honours

  • 2013. Berkeley Center for the Study of Value Fellowship.
  • 2012-2013. John L. Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship in International and Comparative Studies, Berkeley Institute for International Studies
  • 2010. Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship
  • 2010. Tinker Summer Research Grant, Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies
  • 2009. Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Summer), Portuguese
  • 2008-2009. Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Yearlong), Portuguese 
  • 2007-2008. Fulbright Fellowship, Brazil
  • 2010. Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2009. Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2008. Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2005. Phi Beta Kappa
  • 2005. Comfort Starr Prize (outstanding academic achievement), Politics Department, Oberlin College
  • 2005. John D. Lewis Memorial Prize (outstanding student of political theory), Oberlin College
  • 2005. Jerome Davis Industrial Essay Prize, Oberlin College
  • 2004. Marion B. Anderson Peace Activism Fellowship, Oberlin College


  • 2016-Present. Member, Midwestern Political Science Association
  • 2013-Present. Member, Western Political Science Association
  • 2008-Present. Member, American Political Science Association
  • 2007. Field Researcher, Participatory Democracy Project, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Selected Publications:

  • Mark Bevir and Quinlan Bowman. “Qualitative Assessment of Deliberation.” In: Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, Eds. André Bächtiger, John Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge, and Mark Warren (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming)
  • Mark Bevir and Quinlan Bowman. “Innovations in Democratic Governance.” In: Innovations in Public Governance, Eds. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko, Stephen J. Bailey, Pekka Valkama (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2011)
  • Quinlan Bowman. “The European Social Forum: A New Politics for the Left.” Class and Politics in Britain: Student Essays from the Oberlin London Semester, 2003, Ed. Marc Blecher (Oberlin: Oberlin College, 2005)


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