Sydney Democracy Network
Everything Political
November 2016
Everything Political lists all events of political interest in Sydney: both on and off campus and hosted by SDN, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the University of Sydney or other Sydney organisations. Please contact if you would like to list an event in next month's newsletter.
Democracy's Adjective Pluralism
In 2010, Milja Kurki explained how scholars recognize that democracy has plural descriptions but we do not engage with this plurality. This phenomenon, Kurki argues, has real consequences because scholars advance certain conceptions of democracy at the expense of other equally, if not more legitimate, ones. The aim of this research note is to meet Kurki's call by first presenting an empirical account of democracy's plural descriptions (i.e. a list of 1,216 adjectives that have been used to describe democracy) and then engaging this account by asking what value it adds to the discipline of democracy studies. 

Speaker: Dr Jean-Paul Gagnon, University of Canberra

: Thursday 3 November 2016, 12:00-1:30pm
Where: Muniment Room S401 Lobby B, Quadrangle Building A14 The University of Sydney NSW 2006

More information

Debate on the Italian Constitutional Referendum: Yes or No?
On December 4, 2016, Italy will hold a referendum. Italians must approve or reject a series of Constitutional changes aimed at reducing the size of the Italian Senate, simplify the Parliament legislative procedures, and improve the bureaucracy of the state. The outcome of the referendum might have critical repercussions on Italian politics, not unlike Brexit in the UK last July. The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi (like his former British counterpart, David Cameron), has staked his leadership on Italians voting “Yes”. Though in recent weeks Renzi has partially retracted his stance, a ‘No’ vote could still result in a leadership reshuffle or, worse, in a general election. 

In the context of growing anti-establishment popular movements and national referendums throughout Europe, this debate will explore the effects the Italian referendum might have on both domestic and European politics. The speakers will shed light on the significance and history of the Italian Constitution and explore in-depth both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ arguments for the proposed reform.


Dr Giovanni Navarria is a Lecturer and a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. His academic background is primarily in politics and new communication media. 

Dr Francesco Giacobbe OAM is Senator of the Republic with the Democratic Party in Italy.

Mr Matteo Preabianca is the Movimento Cinque Stelle Councillor on the Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero, a body which represents the interests of Italians abroad to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome.

When: Thursday 3 November 2016, 6:30-8:00pm
Where: Seminar Room 218, Fisher Library, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

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New Europe: Past Successes and Uncertain Prospects

Co-hosted by the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs and SDN

Since the collapse of socialism, the New Member States (NMS) of the European Union have performed much better in socio-economic terms than other transition economies. However, the NMS were not a homogenous group of countries. Some of them were catching up with the western countries fast while others were converging very slowly. The NMS differed also in terms of their resilience to major shocks such as the global financial crisis. While discussing causes of these differences, Dr Rzońca will refer to two types of institutions: propelling and stabilizing ones, and discuss possible links between this slowdown and unconventional monetary policy conducted by major central banks. He will also discuss other challenges for the convergence, such as population ageing in the NMS, and Brexit.


Dr Andrzej Rzońca graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics, where he is now an adjunct professor and the Chair of International Comparative Studies. He holds the Kronenberg Foundation award in economics and the award of Committee on Financial Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences for outstanding scholarly achievement. He is the President of the Association of Polish Economists. Dr Rzonca is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

When: Tuesday 8 November 2016, 12:30-2:00pm
Where: Muniment Room S401, Lobby B, Quadrangle Building A14, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

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SDN Democracy Futures on The Conversation
October 26, 2016
Looking Back at Italy 1992: Internet Politics comes of age 
Giovanni NavarriaUniversity of Sydney

Silvio Berlusconi’s rise to power, hand in hand with his monopoly of mainstream media, made the Internet the favourite harbour for nonaligned audiences and dissident voices.

October 24, 2016
The curious power of hate propaganda in open societies 
Cherian GeorgeHong Kong Baptist University

Truth’s victory over hate propaganda is neither automatic nor preordained. It requires a commitment to equal rights and norms of tolerance.

October 17, 2016 
Dystopian Donald: the horror and the hope in Trump’s presidential campaign 
Matthew RyanAustralian Catholic University

Utopia and dystopia are combined in current political thinking, from Donald Trump to the universal basic income.

October 7, 2016
What’s in a name? How a democracy becomes an aristocracy 
Sandra FieldYale-NUS College

Democracy today contains within itself impulses towards both inclusion and exclusion. Spinoza's thinking on aristocracy should alert us to how democratic rule by the people can be hollowed out.

October 3, 2016
How can Australia build on a century of struggle over Indigenous citizenship?
Alison HollandMacquarie University

There is a deep connection between past and present in Indigenous affairs in Australia.

September 29, 2016
Neither Hillary nor Donald – better none of the above 
Giovanni NavarriaUniversity of Sydney

What if, then, come November 8, millions of Americans cast a different vote? What if, come November 8, Americans decide to take the road less travelled?
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Tuesday 1 November
Sydney Ideas | The Three Biggest Challenges Facing the Food System, and How We Fix Them
Speakers: Deanne Minniecon and Alessandro Demaio

Wednesday 2 November
Sydney Southeast Asia Centre | The Aftermath of a Volcanic Eruption
Speaker: Dian Fiantis

Sydney Ideas | Accelerating Gender Equality – Do We Need Male Champions of Change?
Speakers: David Morrison, Michael Flood, Rae Cooper, Parisa Aslani, Deborah Schofield, Anna Hush and Adam Spencer

Thursday 3 November
SDN | Democracy's Adjective Pluralism
Speaker: Jean-Paul Gagnon

SDN | Debate on the Italian Constitutional Referendum: Yes or No?
Speakers: Giovanni Navarria, Francesco Giacobbe and Matteo Preabianca

Affinity Intercultural Foundation | The Abc of Diversity
Speaker: Michele Fonseca

Department of Political Economy | Modern Accumulation
Speaker: Luis Angosto-Ferrández

Friday 4 November
China Studies Centre | 4A Symposium - Twenty Years
Speakers: Abdul Abdullah, Dr Ien Ang, Alex Bowen, Mark Ledbury, Lindy Lee, Owen Leong, Jacqueline Lo, Aaron Seeto, Mikala Tai, Stephen Whiteman and John Young

Sunday 6 November
Sydney Peace Foundation | ‘This Changes Everything’ Film Screening and Q&A with Director Avi Lewis
Speaker: Avi Lewis

Monday 7 November
Sydney Ideas | Do Fish Feel Pain and Why Does It Matter?
Speaker: Victoria Braithwaite

Tuesday 8 November
SDN | New Europe: Past Successes and Uncertain Prospects
Speaker: Andrzej Rzońca

Department of Government and International Relations | War and the Fate of Democracy: Battlefield Lessons and the Politics of the Exceptional
Speaker: Ron Krebs

Wednesday 9 November
The US Studies Centre | American Cultures Workshop: Too Large to Admit of Much Nicety’? Agricultural Improvement English Estates and Virginia Plantations, 1750-1820
Speaker: Dominic Hennessy

Lowy Institute | The Lowy Institute Explains the US Election
Speakers: Michael Fullilove, Alex Oliver, Aaron Connelly and James Curran

Sydney Peace Foundation | Conversations with Naomi Klein: To Change Everything We Need Everyone
Speakers : Lenore Taylor, Naomi Klein, Murrawah Johnson, Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, Nadine Flood and Shen Narayanasamy

Thursday 10 November
Sydney Environment Institute | Turbulent Waters: Slavery in the Fishing Industry
Speaker: Christina Stringer

Sydney Southeast Asia Centre | Re-imagining Australia: Voices of Indigenous Australians of Filipino Descent
Speakers: Deborah Wall and Christine Choo

UTS | Why the Circular Economy Is Important to You
Speakers: Candice Quartermain, Kristy Green, Damien Giurco and Tom Davies

Friday 11 November
Sydney Peace Foundation | 2016 Sydney Peace Prize - Naomi Klein
Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Peace Foundation | 2016 Sydney Peace Prize Gala Dinner
Speaker: Naomi Klein

Monday 14 November
Institute for Social Justice | Postgraduate Seminar – Possibilities of Radical Political Transformation
Speaker: Romand Coles

Sydney Law School | Beyond Accommodation: Muslims and the Law in Australia
Speakers: Salim Farrar and Ghena Krayem

Tuesday 15 November
Sydney Ideas | The Virtues of Self-censorship: Islam, Comedy and the (Punch) Line
Speakers: Sakdiyah Ma‘ruf and Julian Morrow

Wednesday 16 November
Sydney Ideas | When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t: Comparative Pedagogies and Epistemological Diversity in Education
Speaker: Frances Vavrus

Thursday 17 November
The University of Sydney Business Schoo | Energy Security Workshop
Speaker: Jane Lê, Ian Kay, David Havyatt and Dan Cass

Monday 21 November
Department of Sociology & Social Policy | Research Day with Professor Michael Grenfell
Speaker: Michael Grenfell

Tuesday 22 November
AIIA NSW | 2016 Charteris Dinner & Oration
Speaker: Kim Beazley

Wednesday 23 November
Sydney Environment Institute | Global Ecologies - Local Impacts Conference
Speakers: Joni Adamson, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Deborah Bird Rose, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Petra Tschakert, Richard Kerridge, John Wolseley and James Bradley

Thursday 24 November
Sydney Ideas | Assessing the Needs of Indigenous People in Custody: Looking Beyond Law and Order
Speaker: Stephane Shepherd

Evatt Foundation | 2016 C.E. Martin Memorial Dinner with Dr Anne Aly MP
Speaker: Anna Aly

Friday 25 November
The University of Sydney Business School | Historical Materialism Sydney 2016 Call for Papers: Populism, Capitalism and…the Alternative?
Speaker: Esther Leslie

Instituto Cervantes Sydney | The Crossroads of Ángel Sanz Briz - Documentary Screening + Talk
Speaker: Alvaro Iranzo

Sydney Environment Institute | Black Crows Invaded Our Country
Speaker: Thom van Dooren

Monday 28 November
Department of Political Economy | The Dreat Depression in Latin America, 1930-1940
Speaker: Alan Knight

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