Current Project


This collaborative research project aims to capture and map the existing expressions of democracy present in the broad and multifaceted literature of democracy studies. This project is pursued by reviewing major texts in the field and by deploying targeted research in a number of scholarly databases. Following the claims made by key democratic theorists like David Held, David Collier, Steven Levitsky, and Wolfgang Merkel about the presence of ‘many’ or ‘hundreds of adjectives of democracy’, an initial list of 507 different expressions that are used to define the idea of democracy was published in 2014. A revised list of 2,234 expressions was published in 2017. We expect a new version of the list to be ready by early 2018. The project’s long-term objective is to provide a systematic encyclopedic treatment of each valid expression.


View the 2,234 Expressions of Democracy Database, 2017.

View the 507 Expressions of Democracy Database, 2014.







  • Reejay Alingcastre
  • Daniel Stevenson


Democracy with Adjectives‘. RealDemocracyNow interview with Assistant Professor Jean-Paul Gagnon on his work into democracy’s many, and diverse meanings. 23 April 2017

Democracy’s Descriptive Pluralism‘ presented at The Australian Sociological Association’s Annual Conference. Concurrent Session 5: ‘Social Theory/Sociology & Activism’. Thursday 1 December, 1-3 pm.

Democracy’s Adjective Pluralism‘ presented at the Sydney Democracy Network’s Lunchtime Seminar Series. 3 November, 2016.

Democracy – what it is, what is it not‘ presented at the IGPA Graduate Research Forum. Wednesday, 12 October, 2016.

One Thousand Theories of Democracy‘ presented at the Australian Political Studies Association’s Annual Conference. Panel 79: ‘Comparative Politics: Theorising and Measuring Democracy’. Wednesday, 28 September, 2016.