Based at the University of Sydney, SDN is a new initiative preoccupied with the new, exciting and dangerous political trends of our times. The researchers, lecturers, activists, journalists and policy makers associated with SDN come from different walks of life and have a diverse range of interests, but they all see themselves as concerned citizens sharing the same goal: to rethink, strengthen and transform the ideals and practices of democracy. Guided by a strong sense of context and history, they see democracy as both a form of government and a way of life committed to greater equality and the practical refusal of publicly unaccountable power.
SDN supports enquiries into a rich variety of subjects, including networked politics, online mobilisation and the future of journalism in a media-saturated world; global public disaffection with representative government; political ethics; surveillance technologies; the gendering of politics; democratic deficits within cross-border governing institutions; and environmental movements, corporate power and the fate of our biosphere.
SDN is concerned, too, with the injustices suffered by indigenous peoples; the future of cities; religion and public and private ethics; 21st-century alternatives to democracy; and the dynamic tensions between market capitalism, constitutional rule, periodic elections and human rights.
SDN is a networked and bottom-up initiative. An important part of our brief is to draw on media resources, cross-disciplinary scholarship and public engagement with practitioners; and to build new partnerships both within the Sydney region, and beyond. We also aim to host regular innovative public events and to produce a continuous flow of outputs in a variety of forms, including scholarly publications, online essays, photography and videos. We will have an active online presence
Among SDN’s key long-term aims is the formation of a new global network of researchers, activists and policy makers concerned with the fate of democracy in our times. SDN is to become the point of reference for path-breaking research on democracy. We are strongly committed to our Asia and Pacific region, a globally significant testing ground of new political trends that may be preparing us for a world beyond democracy as we know it today.