Assistant Professor & Chair, Undergraduate Program
Ph.D., Harvard University
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 84937
Office: Social Science Centre 4137
Professor Morrison focuses his research efforts primarily on democratization and state formation, especially in association with the historical Western European cases, but with a view to broader comparisons. He is also working on transnational democracy, social movements, and political corruption.
Current Research Projects
1. Democracy By Default
This book project charts and explains the similarities and differences between the British and French democratic trajectories, tying them primarily to the processes of state reform at the turn of the nineteenth century and the associated clash of traditional and modern idea sets.
2. Democracy as Institutional Change
This article sets limits to the role of both pressure from below and partisan competition in episodes of democratization. It reconsiders the British Second Reform Act of 1867 in such a way as to demonstrate the influence of the institutional features of the British state, including those associated with the electoral system itself, and also of the lingering constitutionalist idiom. If elites under the challenge of democratizing pressures acted so as to defend their interests, they did so in a particular institutional context, and based on a particular understanding of what it was they were trying to preserve.
3. Parliaments and Patrimonialism
This article takes up the issue of the importance of representative bodies in combating and eliminating political corruption. It points to the difficulty of establishing an independent role for parliaments given their historical role in constituting the national institutional order. The attempt is made to broaden the frame of reference in order to explore the developing relationship between parliaments and patrimonial administrative arrangements, particulalry in Britain and France beginning in the early modern period.
- 2003: Transnational Democracy in Critical and Comparative Perspective: Democracy’s Range Reconsidered, edited (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate).
Refereed Journal Articles
- 2011: "Channeling the ‘Restless Spirit of Innovation’: Elite Concessions and Institutional Change in the British First Reform Act of 1832. "World Politics vol. 63, no. 4.
- 2003: "Transnational Democracy in Context and in Question," in Bruce Morrison, ed., Transnational Democracy in Critical and Comparative Perspective: Democracy’s Range Reconsidered (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate).
- 2003: "Transnational Democracy: The Pursuit of a Usable Past.," in Bruce Morrison, ed., Transnational Democracy in Critical and Comparative Perspective: Democracy’s Range Reconsidered (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate).
Recent Conference Presentations
- 2012: "Parliaments and Patrimonialism," Conference on Building State Capacity, Harvard University, May 3-5.
- 2012: "Corruption, Constitutionalism, and War in the European States," International Conference of Europeanists, Boston, Massachusetts, March 22-24.
- 2011: "Channeling the ‘Restless Spirit of Innovation’ : Elite Concessions and Institutional Change in the British First Reform Act of 1832," History, Institutions, and Politics Workshop, Harvard University, September 19.
- 2010: "Democracy as Institutional Change : States, Elites, and the Second Reform Act of 1867," International Conference of Europeanists, Montreal, April 15-17.
Awards and Distinctions
- 2002-3: Winner of the Bank of Nova Scotia, UWO Alumni Association, and University Students’ Council Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Western Ontario.
- 2002: SSHRC Conference Grant, for "Transnational Democracy : Lessons from the Nation-State?" held at the University of Western Ontario, March