The Equality Studies Centre runs a dynamic and strongly interdisciplinary research programme involving a wide range of both theoretical and empirical research on issues of equality, social justice and human rights. The originality of its work lies in its dialogical and democratic approach to both the development and dissemination of research and theory in the equality field. The work is driven by the desire to make research accessible to all, and by the practice of linking egalitarian theory to action for social change. The research programme is open and inclusive, and is grounded in the wide range of disciplinary traditions represented by staff and students at the Centre.
As the Centre is devoted to cooperative modes of research inquiry, it is actively engaged in dialogue with local communities, non-governmental organisations, statutory and other bodies in promoting research-informed policy development. By promoting a strong emancipatory approach to empirical research studies and theory development it is a vibrant, exciting and supportive place in which to undertake research.
ESC current research projects:
The Equality and Social Inclusion in Ireland Project is a two year collaborative project between three universities: University College Dublin (UCD), Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and the University of Ulster (UU). The research is funded under Strand 2 of the Peace II/SEUPB North/South Research Programme.
Co-ordinators: Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre, and Professor Eithne McLaughlin, School of Sociology and Social Policy, QUB.
This project sets out to further develop Irish scholarship on the nature of equality and social inclusion in Ireland. The project has two principle objectives:
First, to apply leading national and international scholarship on equality to peace-building and social development in Ireland.
Second, to further develop equality scholarship through dialogue between the academy and those involved in equality politics and community action, and through collaboration between scholars in the North and South of Ireland.
This project brings together leading scholars of equality and social inclusion who are based in a society of overt political conflict and social division with those in a society of covert social division and an absence of political violence. These two contrasting contexts inevitably affect the way we think and relate to issues of equality and social inclusion. The interchange of scholars brought together from these contrasting contexts will contribute to sustained scholarly development in this area.
Developing more sophisticated understandings of the nature of equality, the ways in which it can be achieved, and its benefits for the creation of a just society with a high level of social and economic development is a critical component of promoting peace and social inclusion in Ireland in the future.
The project will involve two major strands of activity:
- Love, care and solidarity research
Co-ordinated by Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre.
Within traditional liberal concepts of equality, little attention has been paid to the promotion of equality in the affective domain (the domain involving care giving and receiving). This strand of the research aims to illustrate the care dimensions of equality, drawing on and reviewing the growing body of cross disciplinary theoretical and empirical work in relation to care and equality.
The research seeks to provide grounded theoretical elaboration on the equality issues involved in the affective care, love and solidarity domain of life and in the relationship between this domain and the other domains of equality (respect and recognition, resources, power, and work and learning) identified in ‘Equality: From Theory to Action’ (Baker et al, 2004, Palgrave Macmillan)
This research aims to look at what it means to have a more egalitarian and inclusive society in terms of care, love and solidarity. To elaborate the care dimensions of equality, we will draw on, and review the growing body of cross-disciplinary theoretical and empirical work in relation to care and equality and engage in a series of 'conversations about care' with care givers and care recipients in both parts of the island to help understand the complex matrix of caring relations, and the tensions, conflicts and rewards that are associated with it. It is envisaged that these will be intensive case studies of households strategically chosen across the various equality grounds operational both North and South, as well as across socio-economic grounds.
For more information contact: Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7167623; Email: Kathleen.Lynch@ucd.ie
- Measuring equality and social inclusion
Co-ordinated by Professor Paddy Hillyard, Queen’s University Belfast
This part of the project has two main objectives:
First, to explore different ways of measuring people’s standard of living in Ireland, both North and South.
Second, to describe and critically assess the social indicators which are available to measure equality and inequality, principally in the affective domain.
This part of the research seeks to develop a framework by which the utility of the existing indicators can be judged and investigate their role in policy making. It will propose innovative ways of selecting indicators for an equality agenda.
For more information contact: Professor Paddy Hillyard, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast. Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3129; Email: P.Hillyard@qub.ac.uk
Other outputs from the project will include:
- Dialogue events
Throughout the course of the project a series of seminars, roundtable events and conferences are being held to promote dialogue around equality issues between academic, civil society/NGO, statutory, political and government sectors.
An international multi-disciplinary conference Equality and Social Inclusion in the 21st Century: Developing Alternatives was held between 1-3 February 2006 in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast.
The Conference themes were:
- Gender, Care and Justice
- In States of Denial
- Counting In(Equalities)
Further information on the 2006 Conference and all dialogue events can be found on the Project website (www.qub.ac.uk/heae)
Funding Body: Gender Equality Unit, Department of Education and Science.
Co-ordinators: Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7167623; Email: Kathleen.Lynch@ucd.ie and Dr Dympna Devine, UCD School of Education and Lifelong Learning, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7168338; Email: Dympna.Devine@ucd.ie.
Post-doctoral Research Fellow: Dr Bernie Grummell, UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel:353-1-7167859; Email: Bernie.Grummell@ucd.ie
Context, Aims and Objectives of Project: Although education is an increasingly feminised profession at all levels, research both nationally and internationally indicates that senior appointments in education are disproportionately male. While research has been conducted in Ireland on the reasons why women do not apply for senior posts in schools in particular, we know little about the culture of senior appointments and the institutional framework within which gendered appointments are made.
This will be the first major study in Ireland to examine cultural codes enshrined in senior appointments at different educational levels and across different sectors of education. A series of 20 case studies will be completed that explore the procedures and processes of recent senior appointments at primary, post-primary, third level and statutory educational agencies (for example principals of primary and post-primary schools, heads and other senior staff in third level institutions and statutory agencies). Each case study will consist of an in-depth qualitative interview with the recent appointee, interview(s) with one or more assessors from their interview board and the collection of supporting documentation (advertisements for the post, application forms and other relevant information). Discourse analysis of educational websites and newspapers will also be conducted to identify the public discourses circulating about educational leadership and senior management in Ireland (by examining the policies and publications of educational representative groups including trade unions, statutory and non-statutory educational bodies).
The objective of this research is to identify the cultural norms that govern senior appointments in education. It will provide a valuable insight into how gender is encoded in the processes and procedures for recruiting suitable candidates, and in the definitions and terms of conditions of appointments. By so doing, it will provide an informed context for reviewing existing procedures with a view to making them more genuinely inclusive, not only of women but also of men, who do not subscribe to the dominant definitions of performance-based, competitive cultures of management. By developing a counterfactual model for educational management that is more women friendly and care friendly, the study will also provide a valuable tool for a gender inclusive framework for all public (and private) sector senior appointments.
Funding Body: Equality Authority and Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Co-ordinators: Judy Walsh, Equality Studies, School of Social Justice; Barry Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick Consulting, Belfast and Neil Jarman, Director, The Institute for Conflict Research, Belfast.
A team from the UCD School of Social Justice, which was led by Judy Walsh of the UCD Equality Studies Centre, collaborated with partners located in Northern Ireland on this research project. The study was commissioned by the statutory equality agencies from the two jurisdictions and identifies strategies to enable LGB individuals to secure their rights under equality law.
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Funding Body: Rape Crisis Network of Ireland
Co-ordinator: Dr Maureen Lyons, UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7167642; Email: Maureen.Lyons@ucd.ie
Context, Aims and Objectives: It is imperative to have good data about the extent and nature of sexual violence in order to best meet the needs of those using the counselling and support services of the Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs) which comprise the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) and to inform the wider policy remit of RCNI. The RCNI is a multi-member political and campaigning organisation committed to the elimination of all forms of sexual violence through effecting political, cultural and social change.
Many who have experienced sexual violence who do not report to the Gardai do contact a RCC or similar agency. This suggests that they show up in the case files in these centres and not in official statistics. Therefore, it is important for RCCs to compile and disseminate statistics on the survivors they provide a service to because many will be invisible otherwise (Kilpatrick and Ruggiero, 2004; Kilpatrick, 2004).
The primary aim of this research is a statistical analysis of 2005 data from Rape Crisis Centres comprising the RCNI. The data refer specifically to information collected from persons who contact a Centre for counselling and support, estimated at 12 per cent of all those in Ireland who experience sexual violence (RCNI, 2005). The second part of the project is to work with the RCNI to implement changes in the collection and recording system in order to maximise the comprehensiveness and usefulness of the data collected in the future.
ESC completed research projects include:
Funding Body: The Irish Human Rights Commission
Researchers: Judy Walsh, Equality Studies Centre UCD and Fergus Ryan, Department of Legal Studies, Dublin Institute of Technology.
Prompted by normative considerations and demographic change various statutory bodies have recently highlighted the inequalities experienced by non-marital families. The purpose of this report, commissioned by the Irish Human Rights Commission, was to ascertain whether Irish law concerning same-sex and opposite-sex couples complies with relevant international human rights standards. A comprehensive survey of European Community measures, Council of Europe instruments, as well as relevant United Nations treaties was undertaken. The juxtaposition of Irish law with these standards reveals quite significant gaps in terms of human rights protection. The report highlights specific areas that require legislative amendment and predicts that other areas may need revision in the future as the interpretation of international norms evolves. At a more fundamental level, the report concludes that there is a compelling case for the enactment of a same-sex partnership recognition law. It also proposes the enactment of a statutory duty to equality proof legislation as a means of ensuring that
Ireland complies with its international human rights obligations in this area. The report was presented to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on May 12, 2006 at the publication launch in the Human Rights Commission’s offices.
Locating Language in Development Education: the role of language in informing public discourse about global development issues
Funding body: Department of Foreign Affairs.
Researcher: Carlos Bruen, Equality Studies Centre, UCD.
Context, Aims and Objectives of Project: Development education seeks to inform the public of the factors that perpetuate inequality, injustice and poverty, and by engaging people and promoting action, strives for ways in which to transform the existing structures of inequality toward more equitable models of development. In the context of increasing global inequalities, exploitation, human rights abuses, poverty and pollution, the role of development education as an agent of awareness building, understanding and change, is vital.
How development issues are represented, interpreted and acted upon is dependent on the language used to name them. In this way, language usage is a shared concern between the minority and majority worlds. The linguistic codes employed can frame the issues as matters of charity or justice; as politically neutral or politically problematic; as race and gender neutral or race and gender sensitive. In this way, the language used does not just interpret the world of development it also defines it.
This research attempts to explore the place of language in framing public discourse about development issues, in particular in relation to issues such as trade, debt, poverty, gender, human rights and inequality. The study will build on existing knowledge of development issues by engaging in a critical and challenging analysis of the public discourse of development. The findings will contribute to a greater understanding of the ways in which the interpretation of development issues, in particular north/south inequalities and crises, are represented in public discourse. By creating debate about language and development issues generally, this research will go some way to facilitating a debate concerning the needs and rights of new ethnic minorities in particular. Findings will inform those involved in development education, including practitioners, learners, activists as well as NGO’s, policy makers and members of the wider educational research community.
Methodology: Using a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, the study will be undertaken according to the principles of co-operative and emancipatory research (Lynch, 1999 and Lynch and Lodge, 2002). The focus of Critical Discourse Analysis is on analysing the language used while also examining the relationships that influence that language.
The research will examine the language used in the promotional literature, advertising and policy pronouncements on development of:
- 1 non-governmental organisation, namely Concern;
- 1 governmental organisation, namely Ireland Aid
Specifically, the analysis will include an exploration of the semantics and codes of interpretation as well as the non-verbal images used. It will examine in particular whether the language and imagery used promotes the egalitarian and social justice objectives articulated by the two organisations.
Promotional, policy and related texts will also be examined in the context of multilateral, statutory and/or non-governmental influence from the external environment. In order to achieve this, dialogue will take place with key informants within the 2 organisations. In so doing, it is hoped to gain an understanding of how organisations come to use the language they do and now wider policy contexts and issues impinge on the framing of development discourses.
Dissemination: The research will result in:
- Presentation at 2 conferences
- Journal Articles
Additional information on the project can be obtained from: Carlos Bruen, Research Officer, Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin. Tel: 353-1-7164638 or Email: Carlos.Bruen@ucd.ie
Funding Body: Gender Equality Unit, Department of Education & Science
Co-ordinator: Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7167623; Email: Kathleen.Lynch@ucd.ie; Dr Sean Close, Lecturer in Mathematics Education, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. Tel: 353-1-8842054. Email: Sean.Close@spd.dcu.ie; Professor Philip J. Boland, UCD School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD School of Social Justice, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: 353-1-7167153; Email: Philip.J.Boland@ucd.ie.
Researchers: Dr Maureen Lyons, Equality Studies Centre, UCD and Emer Sheerin, Equality Studies Centre, UCD
Context, Aims and Objectives:The impetus for this study came from earlier research undertaken by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) study (Hannan et al, 1996) on coeducation. The ESRI study indicated that certain girls in coeducational schools were underachieving in mathematics and further research on this issue was recommended. This research was designed to explore the inside life of coeducational and single sex classes across different types of schools. The main objective was to provide greater understanding of the pedagogical practices employed across different classes, and explore how pedagogical styles impacted on students’ attitudes to, and experience of, learning mathematics. A related objective was to establish the impact that gender and social class had on the teaching and learning of mathematics in the context of different teaching styles and different tracking (streaming, banding or setting) systems.
The core part of the study is an intensive video study of twenty mathematics lessons and six English lessons involving second-year students in ten different second-level schools. The video studies are complemented by interviews with the students about their learning experiences; with teachers about their subject and about teaching; with principals about their schools; and with parents about schooling in general and mathematics education in particular. It is the first intensive video study of its kind to be undertaken in schools in Ireland, and one of the very few to be undertaken internationally.
In preparation for the main video study, an analysis of Junior Certificate Mathematics Examination Results for 1992 to 1996 was carried out. The findings highlighted important issues in relation to the relationship between the gender of students, their social class background, and the status of different types of schools.
Dissemination: The findings of the research are published in a book Inside Classrooms: the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in Social Context (2003) by Lyons, M., Lynch, K., Close, S., Sheerin, E. and P. Boland. Institute of Public Administration, Dublin
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- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
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- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
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The LEIS project established a cross border partnership research group of those interested in exploring the development of an equality perspective on Irish adult literacy work using a range of creative ‘text free’ and ICT technologies. This included the ESC, The Institute of Lifelong Learning, The Queen’s University, Belfast; National Adult Literacy Association (NALA) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). LEIS is cooperatively planned this action research project using existing relationships of trust with tutors, learners and community activists, North and South, to ensure the appropriateness of the design and content to the current context of peace and reconciliation.
A particularly innovative aspect of the project is the development of a handbook of ‘text free’ methodologies that will allow for a significantly increased inclusion of those with unmet literacy needs. This resource has an extensive practical application in the wider area of inclusive community development and action for social change.
The project built on the successful outreach work of the ESC and extended that work to the fields of literacy and the context of peace and reconciliation in NI and the Southern Border Counties. This work will contribute to the process of developing greater understanding of the complexities of Northern issues among those in the South.
The project leader in UCD was Dr. Phyllis Murphy, Outreach Co-ordinator.
The overall project was co-ordinated by Dr. Rob Mark, Assistant Director of the Institute for Lifelong Learning, Queen’s University Belfast.
In addition to the research projects listed above, the ESC is also currently involved in seeking funding for other Research, Teaching and Outreach projects. These include the following:
- Entry and Progression Routes: Educating Activists at Community Level for Social Change
Walsh, J and F Ryan (2006) The Rights of De Facto Couples Dublin: Irish Human Rights Commission
Baker, J, Lynch K, Cantillon S, and Walsh J (2004), Equality: From Theory to Action, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Cantillon, S, Gannon B, Nolan B (2004), Sharing Household Resources: Learning from Non-Monetary Indicators, Dublin:Institute for Public Administration.
Lyons M, Lynch K, Close S, Sheerin E and Boland P (2003) Inside Classrooms: The Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in Social Context. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration (410pp).
Lynch K, Lodge A (2002) Equality and Power in Schools: Redistribution, Recognition and Representation: London: Routledge/ Falmer (243pp).
Cantillon, S, Corrigan C, O'Flynn J & Kirby P (2001) Rich and Poor: Perspectives on Tackling Inequality in Ireland, Oak Tree Press: Dublin.
Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals:
Lynch K, Moran M (2006 in press) ‘Markets, Schools and the Convertibility of Economic Capital: the complex dynamics of class choice’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 27, No. 2 (April).
Walsh, J (2006) ‘Unfamilar Inequalities’ Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 57(1), 156-185
Cantillon S (2005), "The Economy through Women's Eyes - A Review", Trocaire Development Review, May 2005.
Cantillon S and Newman C (2005), Bias in Interview Data Created by Prescence of Third Party, Radical Statistics No. 90
Lynch K , Baker, J (2005) ‘ Equality in Education: The importance of Equality of Condition’, Theory and Research in Education, Vol. 3, No.2: 131-164.
Baker J, Sinnott R (2000), ‘Simulating Multi-Option Referendums in Ireland: Neutrality and Abortion’, Irish Political Studies 15, pp. 105-125.
Lynch K, Lodge A (2003) ‘Young People’s Equality Concerns: The invisibility of diversity’ in Michael Shevlin and Richard Rose (Eds.) Encouraging Voices. pp.15-35. Dublin: National Disability Authority.
Lynch K (2002) “Equality in Education”, Studies, Vol 90, No. 360: 395-411.Co authored in refereed journals and books with C. O’Riordan (1998) “Inequality in Higher Education: A Study of Class Barriers”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 19, No.4: 445-478.
Lynch K (2001)“Creating a dialogue between sociological and egalitarian theory in the analysis of inequality in education”, International Studies Sociology of Education, 11, 3: 237-260.
Cantillon S & Nolan B (2001), "Poverty within Households: Measuring Gender Differences Using Non Monetary Indicators", Feminist Economics, Vol. 7, No.1: pp. 5-23.
Lynch K (2000)“Research and Theory on Equality in Education” in M. Hallinan (Ed.) Handbook of Sociology of Education, (Series editor, Howard Kaplan) New York: Plenum Press: 85-105.
Lynch K (2000)“The Role of Emancipatory Research in the Academy”, in Anne Byrne and Ronit Lentin (Eds.) (Re)searching Women: Feminist Research Methodologies in the Social Sciences in Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration: 73-104.
Lynch K, Lodge A (2000) “Power: A Central Educational Relationship”, Irish Educational Studies, Vol. 19, Spring: 46-67.
Chapters in Edited Books
Baker J (2005), ‘Equality and Human Rights’, in Christien van den Anker and Rhona Smith (eds), The Essential Guide to Human Rights (Hodder & Stoughton Educational pp. 108-110.
Cantillon S (2005) 'Equality in Economic and other Dimensions' in The Economy of Ireland, 9th edition. J.O. Hagan and C. Newman (Editors). Gill and Macmillan.
Walsh J (2004) ‘Sociological Jurisprudence’ in Tim Murphy (ed.) Western Jurisprudence (Dublin; London: Thompson Round Hall), pp. 168-211.
Baker J, (2003) ‘Poverty and Equality: Ten Reasons Why Anyone Who Wants to Combat Poverty Should Embrace Equality As Well’, in Poverty and Inequality: Applying an Equality Dimension to Poverty Proofing (Dublin: Equality Authority and Combat Poverty Agency), pp. 12-25.
Cantillon S, & O'Shea E, (2001), "Social Expenditure, Redistribution and Participation", in Cantillon et al (eds.), Rich and Poor: Perspectives in Tackling Inequality, Oak Tree Press, pp. 81-110.
Walsh, J (Ed.) (2006) Equality for all Families Dublin: Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Cantillion S and Kinsella J (2004) The Process of Learning for Sustainable Development in Rural Africa, (Self Help Development Ltd, 2004)
Baker J, Cantillon S, Lynch, K (2002) National Economic and Social Forum (2002) A Strategic Policy Framework for Equality Issues. NESF Report No. 23. Dublin, Government Publications Office. This report is based on a paper prepared by the Centre, Equality Frameworks for Change, (86pp) presented at a plenary meeting of the National Forum, January 31st 2001.
Lynch K, Baker J and Cantillon S (2001) ‘Equality: Frameworks for Change’, paper prepared for the National Economic and Social Forum, (Dublin: Equality Studies Centre, 2001.
Baker J, Cantillon S, Lynch, K (2001), Poverty and Inequality, Background Research Paper prepared for Combat Poverty Agency internal circulation.
Lynch K, Baker J and Cantillon S (2000), ‘The Relationship between Poverty and Inequality’, paper prepared for the Combat Poverty Agency and the Equality Authority. (Dublin: Equality Studies Centre).
Refereed Conference proceedings
Lynch K (2005) ‘Neo-liberalism, Marketisation and Higher Education: Equality Considerations’, in HEA report on Conference Proceedings, Achieving Equity of Access to Higher Education, Dublin: Higher Education Authority: 9-21.
Lynch K (2002), Equality and Education: Challenges to Neo-Liberalism”, Keynote address at the International Forum for Child Welfare, World Forum, 2001, Limerick, Ireland, 28th-31st August. Published by The International Forum for Child Welfare, Barnardos, World Forum Proceedings: The Children’s Agenda, Familiar Issues, Emerging Concerns Barnardos, Dublin: 90-105.
Editorship of Books
Lynch K, Lodge A (2004) Diversity in School. Dublin: IPA (131pp).
- Current Research
- Recently Completed Research
The ESC currently has 11 registered Ph.D. students, of whom eight have scholarships.
Bosco Conama, John
Comparative Analysis of Deaf Communities in Ireland and a number of other European Countries to determine the extent of their citizen rights: a social-policy perspective
Scolarship: National Disability Authority
Ageism and Equality of Condition in Ireland
Exploring Gay Men’s Experiences of Receiving Nursing Care in Ireland
The Experience of Love, Care and Solidarity of Children Living in Residential Care in Ireland
Not Just Literacy: a study of the affective dimensions of inequality in relation to adults with unmet literacy needs in Ireland
Crisis in Care: a comparitive analysis of the affective equality experience of young men and their orientation to relationships of love, care and solidarity.
Immigrant Nurses’ Experience of Racism in Irish Health Care
Equal and and Inclusive User Involvement in Public Mental Health Services in Ireland
Results form Participatory Action Research. (pdf format)
Power, Equality and Class in Education: A Discursive Analysis UCD Open Post-graduate Scholarship
A Class Act: Social Class and Mothers’ mediation of Children’s Educational Biographies
Between Rejection and Reception: Refugees in Ireland and prospects for their integration
Scolarship: Doctoral Fellowship for Ethnic Minorities, SSRC, UCD
Recently Completed Doctorates
Educating for Democracy: An Egalitarian Perspective
The Intersectionality of Silences: Parity-Impeding Cultural Norms Impacting on Lesbian Partnerships
The Leaving Certificate Applied: A Study of Equality of Opportunity between Girls and Boys
Mother's Emotional Labour in Managing Educational Transitions
"Participatory Democracy, Representation and
Accountability: Some Lessons from Ireland's Community Sector".