Beyond Voice: Prospects and Challenges of Listening in Democracy

Beyond Voice

Final Program- Listening Symposium_18 Oct


Democracy is commonly associated with finding a voice, speaking up and out, making oneself heard. The crucial role of listening in this process is often neglected or merely given lip-service. Listening is important for voice to operate not only as speech but as communication. It is an important theme in both democracy and media studies particularly in a time characterised by increasing opportunities for communication in both online and offline settings. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together scholars from both fields to explore the prospects and challenges of listening in contemporary democracies. It seeks to examine political listening in diverse settings and policy contexts such as environmental politics, identity politics and Indigenous affairs. Using case studies from these and other policy areas, the workshop will respond to the following questions:

  • What are the normative and practical conditions for effective listening in a democracy?
  • Can a digital media environment realise its promise to foster political listening?
  • How do marginalised communities innovate to encourage political listening?
  • What are the theoretical and empirical issues that media and democracy scholars face when studying the prospects for listening in a democracy?
  • Are there political contexts or issues when listening is not suitable, desirable, too difficult?
  • How can we listen to those with no voice (for example nonhuman nature, future generations)?

Speakers include: Emily Beausoloeil (Massey University), Romand Coles (Australian Catholic University), Nicole Curato (University of Canberra), Tanja Dreher (University of New South Wales), John Dryzek (University of Canberra), Selen Ercan (University of Canberra), Carolyn Hendriks (Australian National University), Kerry McCallum (University of Canberra), Cate Thill (University of Notre Dame Australia)

If you would like to participate in this symposium, please register by 15 October 2017 by sending an email to Juliana Rocha ( ‘

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