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Programme now online for OCSID inaugural conference

The Provisional Programme is now online for the conference `Old questions, new agendas`, which takes place on Friday 16 May 2008 at Manor Road.

Old questions, new agendas`

Most people agree that democracy, despite its many meanings, implies some type of formal political equality. Yet, the association between democracy and inequality remains hotly contested. This is, in part, because inequality takes so many different forms: it has material and non-material dimensions and it exacerbates differences of varied sorts, including those based on class, ethnicity, gender, region and religion. The contested nature of the democracy/inequality association is also rooted in its reciprocal quality: democracy is thought to affect inequality but it is thought to be profoundly affected by inequality as well.

Under what conditions does the formal political equality embodied in the democratic notion of one citizen-- one vote actually mitigate inequalities of power and material resources? Under what conditions does democracy leave inequalities unchanged, worsened or simply masked? Alternatively, how do various inequalities prevent the emergence of democracy in the first place? How and when do inequalities hamper the consolidation and the deepening of democracy after its formal institutions have been established?

These are old questions, but their contemporary relevance makes them an ideal focus for the inaugural conference of the Oxford Centre for the Study of Inequality and Democracy (OCSID).

The launch event brings together internationally recognized scholars from several social science disciplines, to ponder how existing democracies have affected inequalities, how inequalities have affected the process of democratization, and how future scholarly and political agendas should be shaped by our answers to these questions.

The conference is sponsored by the Department of Politics and International Relations and Nuffield College.