Emily Beausoleil

ABOUT

Emily Beausoleil is a Lecturer of Politics at Massey University and Associate Editor of Democratic Theory journal. As a political theorist, she explores the conditions, challenges, and creative possibilities for democratic engagement in diverse societies, with particular attention to the capacity for ‘voice’ and listening in conditions of inequality. Early research focused on the potential and practice of the performing arts as sites of democratic politics, and the particular ‘voice’ that aesthetic devices such as polyphony, mediation, affective intensity offer for marginalised positions. Recent and current work shifts the emphasis from voice to the attendant challenges and conditions of listening. This shift first took shape via examination of the affective and embodied dimensions of receptivity, and how embodied practices might be used to facilitate listening and accountability in politics. Current research extends this to consider a wider range of contextual factors and cross-sectoral practices that may contribute to listening. It connects practical insight from ‘master listeners’ from four sectors (conflict mediation, therapy, performance, and education) to organisations across the country seeking to engage and move communities regarding the issue of growing socioeconomic inequality, to design forms of democratic engagement regarding this issue that are tailored to cultivate the conditions for listening. Ultimately, this interdisciplinary and experimental approach to the question of listening aims to contribute to current theory and practice regarding how we translate democratic ideals – receptivity, responsiveness, respect – into practical realities. She currently holds a 2017-19 Marsden Fast-Start Fellowship with the Royal Society of New Zealand, and has been published in Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, Constellations, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Ethics & Global Politics, as well as various books.

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