Mark Chou

AsPr Mark Chou


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Mark is an Associate Professor in the Department of Policy and Governance at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He joined the ANU in early 2024 from the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, where he had been an Associate Professor of Politics and former Deputy Head of the National School of Arts, overseeing the School of Arts in Victoria. Prior to ACU, Mark was a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne from 2011 to 2013. Trained as a political scientist and lawyer, Mark holds degrees from the Australian National University and the University of Queensland, which awarded him his PhD in 2010. He is a former Vice President of the Australian Political Studies Association.

Mark's main research interests includes democratic theory and governance, local politics and government, and comparative political theory. His books include How Local Governments Govern Culture War Conflicts (Cambridge UP, 2020); Political Meritocracy and Populism (Routledge, 2019); Young People, Citizenship, and Political Participation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017); Democracy Against Itself (Edinburgh UP, 2014); and Theorising Democide (Palgrave, 2013). In addition to this, he has authored numerous articles in leading journals, including Urban Affairs ReviewDemocratizationSwiss Political Science ReviewPS: Political Science and PoliticsAustralian Journal of Political Science, and Australian Journal of Public Administration.

Together with Benjamin Moffitt, Annika Werner, Rachel Busbridge, and Simon Tormey, Mark is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded Discovery project, Populism's Heartlands: Place, Identity, and Localism in Populist Politics ($312,265 AUD).

He is co-editor of the Palgrave/Springer Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy Book Series. 

Researcher's projects


  1. 2023-26: Populism’s Heartlands: Place, Identity, and Localism in Populist Politics, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP230100001), with Benjamin Moffitt (ACU), Annika Werner (ANU), Rachel Busbridge (ACU), and Simon Tormey (Deakin) ($312,265)



  1. Chou, Mark and Rachel Busbridge, How Local Governments Govern Culture War Conflicts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)
  2. Chou, Mark, Benjamin Moffitt, and Octavia Bryant, Political Meritocracy and Populism: Cure or Curse? (Abingdon: Routledge, 2019)
  3. Chou, Mark, Jean-Paul Gagnon, Catherine Hartung, and Lesley Pruitt, Young People, Citizenship, and Political Participation: Combatting Civic Deficit? (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)
  4. Chou, Mark, Democracy Against Itself: Sustaining an Unsustainable Idea (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014)
  5. Chou, Mark, Theorising Democide: Why and How Democracies Fail (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  6. Chou, Mark, Greek Tragedy and Contemporary Democracy (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)


Journal Articles 

  1. Chou, Mark, “Going Local: Understanding and Avoiding the Dangers of Localism,” Urban Affairs Review (Vol.60, No.2, 2024)
  2. Chou, Mark, Rachel Busbridge, and Serrin Rutledge-Prior “From the Three Rs to the Culture Wars? How Australians Perceive Local Government Action on Climate Change, Indigenous Reconciliation, and LGBTQIA+ Advocacy," Urban Affairs Review (forthcoming 2024).
  3. Rachel Busbridge, Mark Chou, and Serrin Rutledge-Prior, “The Three Rs and Beyond: Public Perceptions on the Changing Role of Australian Local Government Today,” Urban Policy and Research (forthcoming 2024)
  4. Busbridge, Rachel, Ashlee Cunningham, and Mark Chou, “Enhancing Perceptions of Employability Among First-Year Arts Studies and Implications for Student Belonging,” Higher Education Research and Development (forthcoming 2024)
  5. Chou, Mark, Benjamin Moffitt, and Rachel Busbridge, “The Localist Turn in Populism Studies,” Swiss Political Science Review (Vol.28, No.1, 2022)
  6. Busbridge, Rachel and Mark Chou, “Culture Wars and City Politics, Revisited: Local Councils and the Australia Day Controversy,” Urban Affairs Review (Vol.58, No.1, 2022)
  7. Chou, Mark, Lesley Pruitt, and Luke Dean, “Too Young To Run? Young Political Candidates and the 2020 Victorian Local Government Elections,” Australian Journal of Political Science (Vol.56, No.4, 2021)
  8. Chou, Mark, “Australian Local Governments and Climate Emergency Declarations: Reviewing Local Government Practice,” Australian Journal of Public Administration (Vol.80, No.3, 2021)
  9. Chou, Mark, "Populism and Localism: A New Research Agenda," Democratization (Vol.27, No.6, 2020)
  10. Chou, Mark and Rachel Busbridge, “Culture Wars, Local Government, and the Australia Day Controversy: Insights from Urban Politics Research,” Urban Policy and Research (Vol.37, No.3, 2019)
  11. Chou, Mark, "Different Levels of Government, Different Levels of Political Competence?," PS: Political Science and Politics (Vol.52, No.2, 2019)
  12. Chou, Mark, “Combatting Voter Ignorance: A Vertical Model of Epistocratic Voting,” Policy Studies (Vol.38, No.6, 2017)
  13. Chou, Mark, Chengxin Pan and Avery Poole, "The Threat of Autocracy Diffusion in Consolidated Democracies? The Case of China, Singapore and Australia," Contemporary Politics (Vol.23, No.2, 2017)
  14. Chou, Mark, "Have the Black Knights Arisen? China's and Russia's Support of Autocratic Regimes," Democratization (Vo.24, No.1, 2017)
  15. Chou, Mark, Roland Bleiker and Nilanjana Premaratna, "Elections as Theater," PS: Political Science and Politics (Vol.49, No.1, 2016)
  16. Chou, Mark, "The Rise of China and the Decline of Democracy in Australia?," Australian Journal of International Affairs (Vol.69, No.6, 2015)
  17. Chou, Mark, "Democracy's Story...Two Hundred and Fifty Years On," Australian Journal of Political Science (Vol.50, No.2, 2015)
  18. Chou, Mark. "Projections of China's Normative Soft Power," Australian Journal of International Affairs (Vol.69, No.1, 2015)
  19. Chou, Mark, "From Crisis to Crisis: Democracy, Crisis and the Occupy Movement," Political Studies Review (Vol.13, No.1, 2015)
  20. Chou, Mark, Jean-Paul Gagnon, and Lesley Pruitt, “Putting Participation on Stage: Examining Participatory Theatre as an Alternative Site for Political Participation,” Policy Studies (Vol.36, No.6, 2015)
  21. Chou, Mark, "Democrats against Democracy," Cultural Politics (Vol.10, No.2, 2014)
  22. Chou, Mark, "Democracy's not for me: The Lowy Institute Polls on Gen Y and Democracy," Australian Journal of Political Science (Vol.48, No.4, 2013)
  23. Chou, Mark, "Sowing the Seeds of its Own Destruction: Democracy and Democide in the Weimar Republic and Beyond," Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory (Vol.133, 2012)
  24. Chou, Mark, "Morgenthau, the Tragic: on tragedy and the transition from Scientific Man to Politics Among Nations," Telos: A Quarterly of Critical Thought (Vol.157, 2011)
  25. Chou, Mark, "When Democracies Fail," Political Studies Review (Vol.9, No.3, 2011)
  26. Chou, Mark and Roland Bleiker, "Dramatizing War: George Packer and the Democratic Potential of Verbatim Theater," New Political Science (Vol.32, No.4, 2010), Special Issue on Art After Empire: Creating the New Political Economy of a New Democracy
  27. Chou, Mark, "Democracy in an Age of Tragedy: Democracy, Tragedy and Paradox," Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory (Vol.11, No.2, 2010)
  28. Chou, Mark and Roland Bleiker, "The Symbiosis of Democracy and Tragedy: Lost Lessons from Ancient Greece," Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol.37, No.3, 2009), Special Issue on Interrogating Democracy in International Relations


Book Chapters

  1. Chou, Mark, "Democracy" in Roland Bleiker (ed.), Visual Global Politics (London: Routledge, 2018)
  2. Chou, Mark and Michael Ondaatje, "Dramatic Rationalities: A Citizen's Guide to Watching Electoral Theater in the Age of Donald Trump" in Mari Fitzduff (ed.), Why Irrational Politics Appeals: Understanding the Allure of Trump (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2017)
  3. Chou, Mark and Avery Poole, "Theories of World Affairs" in Emilian Kavalski (ed.), Encounters with Global Affairs: An Introduction to International Relations (London: Routledge, 2015)
  4. Chou, Mark and Roland Bleiker, "Betrayed by Democracy: Verbatim Theater as Prefigurative Politics" in Nancy Love and Mark Mattern (eds.), Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013)
  5. Bleiker, Roland and Mark Chou, "Nietzsche's Style: On Language, Knowledge and Power in International Relations" in Cerwyn Moore and Chris Farrands (eds.), International Relations Theory and Philosophy: Interpretative Dialogues (London: Routledge, 2010)


Selected Media Commentaries & Reports

  1. Chou, Mark, Rachel Busbridge, and Benjamin Moffitt, “Why are far-right groups targeting local councils – and what can councils do to manage the threat?,” ABC Religion & Ethics, 24 May 2023
  2. Chou, Mark, Rachel Busbridge and Serrin Rutledge-Prior, The Changing Role of Local Government in Australia: National Survey Findings, Research Centre for Social and Political Change, Australian Catholic University, February 2023,
  3. Chou, Mark, Rachel Busbridge and Serrin Rutledge-Prior, “Beyond roads, rates and rubbish: Australians now expect local councils to act on bigger issues, including climate change,” The Conversation, 16 February 2023
  4. Chou, Mark and Rachel Busbridge, “The culture war taking place in your own backyard: local councils and the politics of Australia Day,” ABC Religion & Ethics, 23 January 2019
  5. Chou, Mark and Lesley Pruitt, “Let’s give 16-year-olds the right to vote – they’re more than ready, ABC, 18 September 2018
  6. Chou, Mark, "Dying lodestar: the allure of nostalgia,” Australian Book Review, November 2017
  7. Chou, Mark, "Political Knowledge and the Paradox of Voting," Cornell Policy Review, 4 October 2017
  8. Chou, Mark, "Foot Voting and the Dilemma of the Two Americas" Governing, 20 April 2017
  9. Chou, Mark, "Getting voters to focus on what they actually know about," Governing, 1 December 2016
  10. Chou, Mark, Roland Bleiker and Nilanjana Premaratna, "If Trump is just ‘playing acting, then here’s how to understand his brand of theater," Washington Post, 9 June 2016

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The University of Queensland

Award Date: 15 Sept 2010

LLB (Hons), The Australian National University

Award Date: 31 Dec 2006

BA (Hons), The Australian National University

Award Date: 31 Dec 2005

External positions

Vice President, Australian Political Studies Association

1 Jan 202331 Dec 2023

Expertise Areas

  • Public policy
  • Urban policy
  • Australian government and politics
  • Citizenship
  • Political theory and political philosophy

Network (past 5 years)

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