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Rod Dacombe is a Reader in Politics in the Department of Political Economy and Director of the Centre for British Politics and Government. Formerly, Rod was Vice-Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy and co-convenor of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association.

He has expertise on democratic theory, particularly participatory and deliberative democracy, and digital democracy. His book, Rethinking Civic Participation in Theory and Practice (Palgrave), was published in 2018. He has a new book, Democratic Theory, scheduled for publication in late 2021. Rod has acted as an academic advisor to the Scottish government and the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs, and is a regular commentator on these issues in the media.

Throughout 2021, Rod will be away from King’s, working at the University of Oxford on a new project on conspiracy theories and democratic participation as a Fellow of Keble College.


Current research projects include:

Inequalities in democratic participation: This theme of research explores the development of inequalities in democratic life, focusing in particular on the relationship between democratic participation and socio-economic deprivation. The research outputs produced by this theme include a book, Rethinking Civic Participation in Theory and Practice (Palgrave) and a special issue of the journal Representation.

Conspiracy theories and contemporary democracy: A new project, this work will provide the first systematic treatment of the importance of conspiracy theories to democratic theory. As part of this work, Rod has been awarded a prize Visiting Fellowship by Keble College, University of Oxford. Outputs include a book project, scheduled for completion in 2022.

Measuring the effectiveness of democratic innovations: Rod maintains an ongoing interest in the ways in which scholars and practitioners explore the effects of democratic reforms. In particular, his recent publications have explored the measurement of deliberative democratic innovations, as well as the importance of systematic reviews to work of this kind.

Rod has been awarded research funding from organisations including the Economic and Social Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust, the Scottish government, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Wales.


Rod currently teaches an undergraduate course on democracy and the second year extended essay module, as well as a postgraduate course on public policy. He is the co-author of The Politics Book, published by Dorling Kindersley, a text book aimed at A-Level and early undergraduate politics students, and has published on innovative techniques in teaching political science. He was awarded a College Teaching Excellence Award within a year of starting at KCL.

PhD supervision

Rod is happy to consider PhD applications in the following areas:

  • Democratic theory
  • Participatory and deliberative democracy
  • Digital democracy, misinformation and conspiracy theories
  • Civic participation
  • Democratic innovations