School of Social and Political Science

Dr Oliver Escobar

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Photo
photo of Oliver Escobar
Personal website
Blog

Room number

4.23

Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

City (Address)

Edinburgh

Country (Address)

UK

Post code (Address)

EH8 9LD

Research interests

Research interests

Public participation, Participatory and deliberative democracy, Collaborative governance and partnerships, Public dialogue and deliberation, Facilitation and mediation, Democratic innovations, Interpretive policy analysis, Political ethnography, Mixed methods, In/equalities, Participatory and deliberative methodologies, Smart cities, Social innovation, Power, Politics of science and technology, Governance, Democracy, Civic tech, Social commons, Digital public sphere, digital participation, online deliberation, mini-publics, citizens' assemblies, participatory budgeting, community empowerment, environmental politics, community empowerment

Topics interested in supervising

Democratic innovations, public participation, participatory and deliberative democracy, policymaking, governance, public engagement, public dialogue and deliberation, political communication, social innovation, social economy, social commons, digital public sphere

If you are interested in being supervised by Oliver Escobar, please see the link below for more information:

Background

Short biography

Dr Oliver Escobar is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh; Academic Lead on Democratic Innovation at the Edinburgh Futures Instituteand Co-director of CRITIQUE (Centre for Ethics and Critical Thought). He co-led the projects European Smart Urban Intermediaries, Distant Voices, and What Works Scotland. Oliver works on participatory and deliberative democracy, with a focus on public participation, policy innovation, political inequalities and the governance of the future. He combines research and practice to develop social and democratic innovations across various policy and community contexts. Oliver’s work has been shared in seventy publications and fifty courses for students and practitioners across the public sector and civil society. Before academia, Oliver worked in literature, radio, retail, fishing and construction.

Qualifications

At the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain):

  • Master's Degree in Political Science and Public Administration (1997-2002)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching (2003)
  • MPhil in Policy Making (2002-2004)
  • Master in Public Management (2003)

At the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK):

Current and past work

I have been at the University of Edinburgh since 2010, and I am currently Senior Lecturer in Public Policy in the Politics and International Relations subject area of the School of Social and Political Science.

Between 2015-2019 I worked as Co-Director of What Works Scotland, a programme to connect research, policy and practice,  improve public services and advance policy innovation. I led the WWS workstreams on Governance and Community Engagement. Building on this work, in 2019, I was appointed Academic Lead for Democratic Innovation at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (University of Edinburgh). 

Recent research projects:

Recent advisory roles:

  • (2022) Working Group on Behavioural Interventions and Community Engagement, Standing Committee on Pandemic Preparedness
  • (2022-) Academic Advisor on Participatory Methods, Social Research at the Scottish Government
  • (2021) Editorial Board: Citizen Engagement in Evidence-Informed Policy-Making, World Health Organisation
  • (2021-) Working Group: Institutionalising Participatory and Deliberative Democracy, Scottish Government's Open Government Partnership
  • (2020-2021) Stewarding Board of Scotland's Climate Assembly
  • (2020-2021) Digital Ethics Expert Group, Scottish Government  
  • (2020- ) Communities & Volunteering Social Renewal Policy Circle, Scottish Government
  • (2020- ) Covid19 Public Engagement Advisory Group, Scottish Government  
  • (2020- ) National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group, COSLA and Scottish Government
  • (2019- ) Open Government Partnership - Accountability
  • (2019- ) Scottish Leaders Forum - Climate Change Action Group
  • (2014-2020) Democratic Audit UK Board of Trustees
  • (2014-2019) Participatory Budgeting Working Group, Scottish Government   

I received a PhD in Politics from the University of Edinburgh, where I held a Principal’s Career Development Scholarship. My research subject was participatory policy making, with a focus on the everyday work of public engagement practitioners in the context of local democracy. My first funded research project (2002-2004, European Social Fund and Galician Government) was on public policy to tackle poverty and social exclusion in Galicia (Spain). Over the years I have enjoyed learning as a facilitator and analyst in various policy arenas locally, nationally and internationally. 

Between 2008-2010 I worked at the Dialogue Research Project (Queen Margaret University) helping to set up QMU’s Centre for Dialogue. I am a Public Engagement Fellow of Edinburgh Beltane (UK Beacons for Public Engagement) since 2009, where I am involved in developing  courses, forums and activities in the areas of dialogue and deliberation, public engagement, and policy practice. Between 2010-2013 I was the Project Officer for the Public Policy Network, where I still convene the Citizen Participation Network. I am a trained participation practitioner (International Association for Public Participation).

I was the Project Director for the ‘Citizens' Juries about Onshore Windfarms’  funded by ClimateXChange, and recently facilitated a series of Citizens' Juries on Tackling Health Inequalities and helped to develop other deliberative mini-publics. Since 2014, I have worked on mixed methods research and teaching with Prof. Andrew Thompson using data from a large study of the European Commission. I co-led an international study of 'People who make a difference in neighbourhoods' using Q Methodology with colleagues in England, Netherlands and Denmark, which formed the foundation for the Smart Urban Intermediaries project. 

I contributed to develop So Say Scotland (a hub for participatory politics and democratic innovation), as well as the year-long deliberative process led by the Electoral Reform Society: Democracy Max -An Inquiry into the Future of Scottish Democracy. In collaboration with the Scottish Community Development Centre, we re-launched the National Standards for Community Engagement (2016) to support the implementation of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. I carry out participatory and deliberative projects with a range of public and third sector organisations. For instance, I designed and facilitated participatory forums for the COSLA Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, and deliberative processes for Voluntary Action Scotland / Third Sector Interfaces, and ClimateXChange.

Besides academia, I worked as seasonal labourer in the construction and fishing industries (1999-2005). I also worked in retail management (2005-2008) and radio broadcasting (2008-2009), with some incursions into amateur photography and short filming. Since 1995, I have published various literary works and 3 poetry books, including the bilingual Galician Rhapsody, Blues Escocés.

Teaching and Training

I have designed undergraduate and postgraduate couses, as well as practitioner training workshops, on dialogue and deliberation, citizen participation, political communication, policy analysis, political theory, qualitative research, science public engagement and facilitation.

Currently I convene and teach:

In 2021, we started a new Summer School on Democratic Innovation

From 2012 to 2015 I convened and taught 3 other postgraduate courses:

  • 'Science, policy and practice: Brokering knowledge in policy contexts' and 'Dialogue and deliberation in public engagement', MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement, University of Edinburgh.
  • 'Engagement for public policy practitioners: Policy work in the age of collaborative governance and participatory democracy', Master of Public Policy, Edinburgh University's Academy of Government.

I have also developed  bespoke training courses for various public, third and community sector organisations.

PhD students

Elisabet VivesCan technology fix our democracies? Exploring the impact of civic technologies on political inequalities

Ioanna SakaliDemocratic Backsliding and Citizenship Foundations of European Political Systems in the Aftermath of Covid-19

Iñaki Goñi, Dialogues as social technologies: Towards a framework for public dialogue design in science and technology

Anna Kallen TalleyWhat Does Truth Look Like? Interrogating the Role of Design in Fake News

Aiste PagineraiteSearching for a Solidarity Enterprise: Investigation of the Scottish Social Enterprise Model

María Fernanda Díaz Vidal, Penal policies in the context of democratic political dialogue in Chile

Nicolas Silva, Participative and collaborative governance for energy transitions in Chile and Peru

Beth KatzLocal opportunity windows in hostile national political environments: Exploring the interplay between national and local immigrant integration politics in the Brexit and Trump eras

Max Rozenburg, Deliberative democracy and the governance of the commons 

Katie HironoHealth equity, policymaking, community engagement and power

Giulia Molinengo, Power in collaboration: a process design perspective (IASS Potsdam) 

Dr. Anna Ross, Narratives and participation in drugs policy in Scotland [completed]

Tamara Mulherin, Collaborative work in Health and Social Care Partnerships [completed]

Visiting doctoral students

Sixtine Van Outryve D'Ydewalle, Theory and practice of direct democracy (visiting in 2021-2022) 

Elba Maneiro, Emotions and political behaviour (visiting in 2021)

Dr. Meng Yang,  Democratic innovations in China ( visiting 2016-17) [completed]

Dr. Taina MeriluotoExpertise and experience in participatory social policy  (visiting 2017) [completed]

Publications

Recent articles, reports and chapters

Elstub, S., Escobar, O., Henderson, A., Thorne, T., Bland, N. & Bowes, E. (2022) Research Report on the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research. [Open Access]

Escobar, O. (2022) Mixed methods. In: Ercan, S. A., Asenbaum, H., Curato, N. & Mendonça, R.F. (Eds), Research Methods in Deliberative Democracy, Oxford University Press [forthcoming].

Escobar, O. (2021) Between radical aspirations and pragmatic challenges: Institutionalising participatory governance in Scotland, Critical Policy Studies. [Open Access].

Drury, S. A. M., Elstub, S., Escobar, O., & Roberts, J. J. (2021). Deliberative Quality and Expertise: Uses of Evidence in Citizens’ Juries on Wind Farms, Journal of Deliberative Democracy, 7(2), pp. 31–44. [Open Access]

Thompson, R., McKeon, A., Elstub, S., Escobar, O. (2021) Deliberating online in a crisis: yes we can (and why we should), The Loop (ECPR's Political Science Blog). 

McColl, P., Escobar, O. and Webb, J. (2021) Participatory politics and the climate emergency, The Royal Society of Edinburgh. [Open Access]

Smith, K. E., Macintyre, A., Weakley, S., Hill, S. E., Escobar, O. & Fergie, G. (2021) Public understandings of potential policy responses to health inequalities: Evidence from a UK national survey and citizens’ juries in three UK citiesSocial Science & Medicine, 114458. [Open Access] 

Elstub, S., Thompson, R., Escobar, O., Hollinghurst, J., Grimes, D., Aitken, M., Mckeon, A., Jones, K. H., Waud, A. & Sethi, N. (2021) The Resilience of Pandemic Digital Deliberation: An Analysis of Online Synchronous ForumsJavnost - The Public. [Open Access]

Durose, C., Richardson, L., Rozenburg, M., Ryan, M. & Escobar, O. (2021) Community Control in the Housing Commons: A Conceptual Typology,  International Journal of the Commons, 15, 291-304. [Open Access]

Bua, A. & Escobar, O. (2021) El sistema político del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte. In: Sánchez Medero, G. & Sánchez Medero, R. (eds.) Sistemas Políticos en Europa. 3rd ed. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch.

Thompson, A. G. H., Escobar, O., Roberts, J. J., Elstub, S. & Pamphilis, N. M. (2021) The Importance of Context and the Effect of Information and Deliberation on Opinion Change Regarding Environmental Issues in Citizens’ JuriesSustainability, 13, 9852. [Open Access]

Bennett, H., Escobar, O., Hill O’Connor, C., Plotnikova, E., Steiner, A. (2021) Participation Requests: A Democratic Innovation to Unlock the Door of Public Services?, Administration & Society, advanced online publication August 2021. [Open Access]

Durose, C., van Ostaijen, M., van Hulst, M., Escobar, O., Agger, A. (2021) Working the urban assemblage: A transnational study of transforming practicesUrban Studies, advanced online publication July 2021. [Open Access]

Lightbody, R. & Escobar, O. (2021) Equality in community engagement: A scoping review of evidence from research and practice in Scotland. Scottish Affairs, 30, 355-380.

Escobar, O. (2021) Democracia participativa: La experiencia de Escocia. In: Ramirez-Alujas, A. & Nicando, C. (eds.) Gobernando el futuro. Debates actuales sobre Gobierno, Administración y Políticas Públicas. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales.

Escobar, O. (2021) Gobernanza colaborativa, participativa y deliberativa: Avanzando en la innovación democrática para la acción pública. Chapter 3 in: Romero Tarin, A. & Alejo, A. (eds.) Panorama de la Gobernanza: Perspectivas y Retos para su Estudio en Iberoamerica, Valencia: Tirant Lo Blanch. 

Escobar, O. (2021) Voice of the people: Public participation and independence. Chapter 2 in: Hepburn, E., Keating, M. & Mcewen, N. (eds.) Scotland’s new choice: Independence after Brexit, Edinburgh: Centre on Constitutional Change. [Open Access]

Crockett Thomas, P., Collinson Scott, J., Mcneill, F., Escobar, O., Cathcart FrödéN, L. & Urie, A. (2021) Mediating Punishment? Prisoners’ Songs as Relational ‘Problem-Solving’ DevicesLaw Text Culture, 24. [Open Access]

Escobar, O. (2020) Futures in common: Democratic life beyond the crisis. In: Hassan, G. & Barrow, S. (eds.) Scotland after the virus, pp. 119-126, Edinburgh: Luath Press.

Escobar, O. (2020) Transforming lives, communities and systems? Co-production through participatory budgeting. In: Loeffler, E. & Bovaird, T. (eds.) Handbook of Co-Production of Public Services and Outcomes. Palgrave Macmillan.

Escobar, O., Garven, F., Harkins, C., Glazik, K., Cameron, S., Stoddart, A. & O’hagan, A. (2020) El presupuesto participativo en Escocia: la interacción de la reforma del servicio público, el empoderamiento de la comunidad y la justicia social. In: Molina, J. & Mayor, J. M. (eds.) Los Presupuestos Participativos: Aportes y limites para radicalizar la democracia, Valencia: Tirant Lo Blanch. [Open Access]

Mccartney, G., Dickie, E., Escobar, O. & Collins, C. (2020) Health inequalities, fundamental causes and power: Towards the practice of good theorySociology of Health & Illness, Early View Online. [Open Access]

Bowes, E.,  Bland, N., Escobar, O., King, B., Elstub, S., Rozenburg, M., Henderson, A.  (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 8. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Henderson, J., Revell, P. & Escobar, O (2020) Building the community economy in Scotland, Glasgow: What Works Scotland and Policy Scotland.

Henderson, J., Revell, P. & Escobar, O. (2020) Summary: Building the community economy in Scotland, Glasgow: What Works Scotland and Policy Scotland.

Bowes, E.,  Bland, N., Escobar, O., King, B., Elstub, S., Rozenburg, M., Henderson, A.  (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 7. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Bowes, E., Escobar, O.,Rozenburg, M., King, B., Elstub, S., Bland, N., Henderson, A.,  (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 6. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Henderson, J., Escobar, O. & Revell, P. (2020) 'Public value governance meets social commons: community anchor organisations as catalysts for public service reform and social change?', Local Government Studies, advanced online publication.

Bowes, E.,  Bland, N., Elstub, S., Escobar, O., Henderson, A., King, B., Rozenburg, M. (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 5. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Bowes, E., Escobar, O., Elstub, S., Bland, N. & Henderson, A. (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 4. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Bowes, E., Escobar, O., Elstub, S., Bland, N. & Henderson, A. (2020) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 3. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research.

Escobar, O. (2019) 'Facilitators: The micropolitics of public participation and deliberation'In: Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (eds.) The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, pp. 178-195. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Escobar, O. & Thompson, A. (2019) 'Mixed methods research in democratic innovation'In: Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (eds.) The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, pp. 501-514. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (2019) 'Defining and typologising democratic innovations' [OPEN ACCESS]. In: Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (eds.) The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, pp. 11-31. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Escobar, O. & Elstub, S. (2019) 'Introduction to the Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance: The field of democratic innovation' [OPEN ACCESS]. In: Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (eds.) The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, pp. 1-9 Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Elstub, S. and Escobar, O. (Eds.) (2019) The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Bowes, E., Escobar, O., Elstub, S., Bland, N. & Henderson, A. (2019) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 1. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research. 

Bowes, E., Escobar, O., Elstub, S., Bland, N. & Henderson, A. (2019) Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefing - Weekend 2. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research. 

Durose, C., Escobar, O., Gilchrist, A., Agger, A., Henderson, J., van Hulst, M. & van Ostaijen, M. (2019) Socially smart cities - Making a difference in urban neighbourhoods - Final project report. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

Gilchrist, A., Escobar, O., Durose, C.,Agger, A., Henderson, J., van Hulst, M. & van Ostaijen, M. (2019) Social transformation in urban neighbourhoods: Supporting smart urban intermediation - Policy & Practice Briefing. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

Henderson, J. & Escobar, O. (2019) Supporting Smart Urban Intermediation - Scottish Policy Brief Supplement. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

Urie, A. et al. (2019) Reintegration, hospitality and hostility: Song-writing and song-sharing in criminal justice, Journal of Extreme Anthropology (online first).

Watson, N. and O. Escobar, on behalf of WWS (2019) Key messages about public service reform in Scotland, Final Report, Edinburgh and Glasgow: What Works Scotland. 

Paterson, A., Nelis, P. and O. Escobar (2019) Strengthening Community Councils: Exploring how they can contribute to democratic renewal in Scotland, Glasgow: Scottish Community Development Centre and What Works Scotland. 

Cullingworth, J. and O. Escobar. (2019) Participation and representation: Strengthening the third sector voice in local governance. Glasgow: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O. and Katz, B. (2018) Mainstreaming participatory budgeting: What works in building foundations for a more participatory democracy? Edinburgh: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O. (2018) Participar, para qué?, en Participación social en un mundo en cambio, Nueva Revista de Política, Cultura y Arte, Serie Estudios núm 2, páginas 35-42, Madrid: UNIR. 

Weakley, S. and Escobar, O. (2018) Community Planning after the Community Empowerment Act: The Second Survey of Community Planning Officials in Scotland, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland.

Campbell, M., O. Escobar, C. Fenton, & P. Craig (2018) 'The impact of participatory budgeting on health and wellbeing: A scoping review of evaluations', BMC Public Health, 18, 822.

Escobar, O., F. Garven, C. Harkins, K. Glazik, S. Cameron, & A. Stoddart (2018) 'Participatory budgeting in Scotland: The interplay of public service reform, community empowerment and social justice', in N. Dias (Ed.), Hope for democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide, Faro, Portugal: Oficina, pp. 311-336.

Bua, A. and Escobar, O. (2018) Participatory-Deliberative Processes and Public Policy Agendas: Lessons for Policy and PracticePolicy Design and Practice, first published online (Open Access).

Henderson, J., Revell, P. and Escobar, O. (2018) Transforming communities? Exploring the roles of community anchor organisations in public service reform, local democracy, community resilience and social change, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O., Gibb, K., Kandlik Eltanani, M. and Weakley, S. (2018) Community Planning Officials Survey: Understanding the everyday work of local participatory governance in Scotland, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland. 

Escobar, O., Gibb, K., Kandlik Eltanani, M. and Weakley, S. (2018) Brief: Summary - Community Planning Officials Survey, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland. 

Campbell, M., P. Craig, & Escobar, O. (2017) Participatory budgeting and health and wellbeing: A systematic scoping review of evaluations and outcomes, The Lancet, 390(S30). [Published Abstract] 

Escobar, O. (2017) Pluralism and democratic participation: What kind of citizen are citizens invited to be?, Contemporary Pragmatism, 14(4): 416-438. 

Escobar, O. and Elstub (2017) Forms of mini-publics: An introduction to deliberative innovations in democratic practice, Research and Development Notes, newDEMOCRACY.

Escobar, O. (2017) Making it official: Participation professionals and the challenge of institutionalizing deliberative democracy, in Bherer, L., Gauthier , M. & Simard, L. (eds.) The Professionalization of Public ParticipationRoutledge. 

Escobar, O. (2017) What Works in Participatory Budgeting: Taking stock and thinking ahead, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland. 

Nugent, B. and Escobar, O. (2017) Fun, Food and Folk - The Centrestage approach to dignified food provision, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O. and Elstub, S. (2017) Deliberative innovations: Using ‘mini-publics’ to improve participation and deliberation at the Scottish Parliament, prepared for the Scottish Parliament Commission on Parliamentary Reform.

Harkins, C., Moore, K. and Escobar, O. (2016) Review of 1st Generation Participatory Budgeting in Scotland, Edinburgh: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O. (2016) Response: Beyond anti-politics through democratic innovationRenewal: A Journal of Social Democracy, 24(2): 20-24.

Escobar, O. (2016) Strategic Futures: In 2020, the UK will..., Global Brief, Summer Edition.

Durose et al. (2016) Five ways to make a difference: Perceptions of practitioners working in urban neighborhoods, Public Administration Review, 76(4): 576-586.  

Harkins, C. and Escobar, O. (2015) Participatory Budgeting in Scotland: An overview of strategic design choices and principles for effective deliveryGlasgow: Glasgow Centre for Population Health and What Works Scotland.

Roberts, J. and Escobar, O. (2015) Involving communities in deliberation: A study of three citizens’ juries on onshore wind farms in Scotland, Edinburgh: ClimateXChange.

Escobar, O. (2015) Scripting deliberative policy-making: Dramaturgic policy analysis and engagement know-how, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 17(3): 269-285.

Escobar, O. (2015) Reimagining Community Planning in Scotland: A vision from the Third Sector, Glasgow: What Works Scotland.

Escobar, O. (2014) Towards participatory democracy in Scotland, in POST (ed.), Scotland 44: Ideas for a new nation, Edinburgh: POST.

Escobar, O., Faulkner, W. and Rea, H. (2014) Building capacity for dialogue facilitation in public engagement around researchJournal of Dialogue Studies, 2(1), 87-111.

Escobar, O. (2014) Upstream public engagement, downstream policy making? The Brain Imaging Dialogue as a community of inquiryScience and Public Policy,  41(4): 480-492.

Roberts, J. and Escobar, O. (2014) Citizens' juries on wind farm development in Scotland: Interim report, Edinburgh: ClimateXChange.

Escobar, O. (2014) Strengthening local democracy in Scotland: The community councils perspective, Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, COSLA.

Escobar, O. (2014) Strengthening local democracy: The Voluntary Action Scotland perspective, Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, COSLA.

Escobar, O. (2014) Strengthening local democracy in Scotland: The faith perspective, Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, COSLA.

Elstub, S. and Escobar, O. (2013) Mini-publics in Scotland,  Annex D, Final Report of the Commission on Fair Access to Political Influence, Jimmy Reid Foundation.

Escobar, O. (2013) Commentary: Public engagers and the political craft of participatory policy-makingPublic Administration Review 73(1), pp. 36-7.

Pieczka, M. and Escobar, O. (2013) ‘Dialogue and Science: Innovation in policy making and the discourse of public engagement in UK’Science and Public Policy, 40 (1): 113-126.

Escobar, O. (2012) The politics of dialoguePeople & Science, June, p. 12, British Science Association.

Escobar, O. (2011) Public Dialogue and Deliberation. A communication perspective for public engagement practitioners, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Beltane -UK Beacons for Public Engagement. (REPRINTED IN APRIL 2012)

Wardlaw et al. (2011) “Can It read my mind?” – What do the public and experts think of the current (mis)uses of Neuroimaging? Public Library of Science One,6(10): e25829.

Escobar, O. (2011) ‘Suspending disbelief: Obama and the role of emotions in political communication’. In Engelken-Jorge, M.; Ibarra Gell, P.; Moreno del Río, C. (Eds.) Politics and Emotions: The Obama Phenomenon, pp. 109-128, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Escobar, O. (2010) ‘Public engagement in global context. Understanding the UK shift towards dialogue and deliberation’Centre for Dialogue Working Paper 1, Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University.

Escobar, O. (2010) ‘Dialogue in Scotland? A forum with communication practitioners’Centre for Dialogue Working Paper 2, Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University.

Pieczka, M. and Escobar, O. (2010) ‘The dialogic turn and management fashions’,Proceedings of the International Communication Association Conference, Singapore.

Escobar, O. (2009) ‘The dialogic turn: dialogue for deliberation’, In-spire Journal of Law, Politics and Societies, 4(2), pp.42-70.

Book reviews

Escobar, O. (2012), Rethinking the Public: Innovations in Research, Theory and Politics – Edited by Nick Mahony, Janet Newman and Clive BarnettPolitical Studies Review, 10(2), p. 279.

Escobar, O. (2012), Challenges of Ordinary Democracy: A Case Study in Deliberation and Dissent – By Karen TraceyPolitical Studies Review, 10(2), pp. 282–283.

Poetry books (selection)

Escobar, O. (2019) In albis; Celebración do enigma; Venus de terra. En Versos fideis: Antoloxía do XX Certame de Poesía Díaz Jácome, Mondoñedo: Concello de Mondoñedo.

Escobar, O. (2018) Identity / Identidade. Anthology: Onda poética 2018Santiago de Compostela: Edicións Positivas, pp. 85-99 [bilingual edition: English and Galician].

Escobar, O. (2009) Galician rhapsody, blues escocés, Cangas: University of Stirling and Morgante. [bilingual edition English / Galician]

Escobar, O. (2006) Apostasía , Santiago de Compostela: Edicions Positivas.

Escobar, O. (2004) A última bengala, Ferrol: Colección Esquío.

Staff Hours and Guidance

Wednesdays 10am-1pm during term time. Other times available by email appointment: oliver.escobar@ed.ac.uk

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Escobar O. Mixed methods. In Ercan SA, Asenbaum H, Curato N, Mendonça RF, editors, Research Methods in Deliberative Democracy. Oxford University Press. 2022
Elstub S, Escobar O, Henderson A, Thorne T, Bland N, Bowes E. Citizens' Assembly of Scotland: Research Report. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Social Research, 2022. 110 p.
Escobar O. Between radical aspirations and pragmatic challenges: Institutionalising participatory governance in Scotland. Critical Policy Studies. 2021 Dec 16. https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2021.1993290
Escobar O. Between radical aspirations and pragmatic challenges: Institutionalizing participatory governance in Scotland. Critical Policy Studies. 2021 Dec 16. https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2021.1993290
Mehltretter Drury SA, Elstub S, Escobar O, Roberts JJ. Deliberative quality and expertise: Uses of evidence in citizens’ juries on wind farms. Journal of Public Deliberation. 2021 Dec 2;17(2):31-44. https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.986
Smith KE, Macintyre A, Weakley S, Hill SE, Escobar O, Fergie G. Public understandings of potential policy responses to health inequalities: Evidence from a UK national survey and citizens’ juries in three UK cities. Social Science & Medicine. 2021 Dec;291. 114458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114458
Thompson R, McKeon A, Elstub S, Escobar O. Deliberating online in a crisis: Yes we can (and why we should). The Loop - ECPR, 2021.
Henderson J, Escobar O, Revell P. Public value governance meets social commons: Community anchor organisations as catalysts for public service reform and social change? Local Government Studies. 2021 Nov 2;47(6):887-909. https://doi.org/10.1080/03003930.2020.1787164
McColl P, Escobar O, Webb J. Participatory Politics and the Climate Emergency. Royal Society of Edinburgh , 2021.
Elstub S, Thompson R, Escobar O, Hollinghurst J, Grimes D, Aitken M et al. The resilience of pandemic digital deliberation: An analysis of online synchronous forums. Javnost – The Public. 2021 Oct 4. https://doi.org/10.1080/13183222.2021.1969616
Durose C, Richardson L, Rozenburg M, Ryan M, Escobar O. Community control in the housing commons: A conceptual typology. International Journal of the Commons. 2021 Sep 17;15(1):291-304. https://doi.org/10.5334/ijc.1093
Bua A, Escobar O. El sistema político del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte. In Sánchez Medero G, Sánchez Medero R, editors, Sistemas políticos en Europa. 3 ed. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch. 2021. p. 165-188. (Manuales).
Thompson AGH, Escobar O, Roberts JJ, Elstub S, Pamphilis NM. The importance of context and the effect of information and deliberation on opinion change regarding environmental issues in citizens’ juries. Sustainability. 2021 Sep 2;13(17):1-21. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179852
Bennett H, Escobar O, Hill O'Connor C, Plotnikova E, Steiner A. Participation Requests: A democratic innovation to unlock the door of public services? Administration and Society. 2021 Aug 17. https://doi.org/10.1177/00953997211037597
Lightbody R, Escobar O. Equality in community engagement: A scoping review of evidence from research and practice in Scotland. Scottish Affairs. 2021 Aug;30(3):355-380. https://doi.org/10.3366/scot.2021.0374
Durose C, van Ostaijen M, van Hulst M, Escobar O, Agger A. Working the urban assemblage: A transnational study of transforming practices. Urban Studies. 2021 Jul 28. https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980211031431
Escobar O. Democracia participativa: La experiencia de Escocia. In Ramírez-Alujas ÁV, Cruz-Rubio CN, editors, Gobernando el futuro. Debates actuales sobre Gobierno, Administración y Políticas Públicas. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales. 2021. p. 63-72
Escobar O. Gobernanza colaborativa, participativa y deliberativa: Avanzando en la innovación democrática para la acción pública. In Tarín AR, Alejo A, editors, Panorama de la Gobernanza: Perspectivas y Retos para su Estudio en Iberoamerica. Valencia, Spain: Tirant lo Blanch. 2021. p. 49-73
Escobar O. Voice of the people: Public participation and independence. In Hepburn E, Keating M, McEwen N, editors, Scotland’s new choice: Independence after Brexit. Edinburgh: Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC). 2021. p. 46-55
Crockett Thomas P, Collinson Scott J, McNeill F, Escobar O, Cathcart Frödén L, Urie A. Mediating punishment? Prisoners’ songs as relational ‘problem-solving’ devices. Law Text Culture. 2021 Jan 11;24:1-27.
Bowes E, Bland N, Escobar O, King B, Elstub S, Rozenburg M et al. Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland: Data Briefings - Weekends 1-8. Scottish Government, 2020.
Escobar O. Transforming Lives, Communities and Systems? Co-production Through Participatory Budgeting. In Loeffler E, Bovaird T, editors, The Palgrave Handbook of Co-Production of Public Services and Outcomes. 1 ed. Palgrave Macmillan. 2020. p. 285-309
McCartney G, Dickie E, Escobar O, Collins C. Health inequalities, fundamental causes and power: Towards the practice of good theory. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2020 Nov 22. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13181
Escobar O. Futures in common: Democratic life beyond the crisis. In Hassan G, Barrow S, editors, Scotland After the Virus. Edinburgh: Luath Press. 2020. p. 119-126
Sethi N, Aitken M, Jones K, Elstub S, Cunningham-Burley S, Darlington A et al. Why the public need a say in how patient data is used for Covid 19 responses. International Journal of Population Data Science. 2020 Jun 23. https://doi.org/10.23889/ijpds.v5i2.1357
Escobar O, Garven F, Harkins C, Glazik K, Cameron S, Stoddart A et al. Presupuestos participativos en Escocia: La interacción de la reforma de la administración pública, el empoderamiento comunitario y la justicia social. In Cabannes Y, Mayor Balsas JM, Molina Molina J, editors, Presupuestos Participativos: Aportes y Límites para Radicalizar la Democracia. 1 ed. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch. 2020. p. 309-344
Escobar O, Henderson J. Supporting smart urban intermediation: Learning and recommendations for the Scottish policy context from the Smart Urban Intermediaries project. Smart Urban Intermediaries, 2019. 8 p.
Escobar O, Elstub S. Introduction to the Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance: The field of democratic innovation. In Elstub S, Escobar O, editors, Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2019. p. 1-9 https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786433862.00007
Elstub S, Escobar O. Defining and typologising democratic innovations. In Elstub S, Escobar O, editors, Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2019. p. 11-31 https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786433862.00009
Elstub S, (ed.), Escobar O, (ed.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2019. 624 p. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786433862
Escobar O. Facilitators: The micropolitics of public participation and deliberation. In Elstub S, Escobar O, editors, Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2019. p. 178-195 https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786433862.00022
Escobar O, Thompson A. Mixed methods research in democratic innovation. In Elstub S, Escobar O, editors, Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2019. p. 501-514 https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786433862.00046
Gilchrist A, Escobar O, Durose C, Agger A, Henderson J, Van Hulst M et al. Social transformation in urban neighbourhoods: Supporting smart urban intermediation. Smart Urban Intermediaries, 2019. 12 p.
Durose C, Escobar O, Gilchrist A, Agger A, Henderson J, Van Hulst M et al. Socially smart cities: Making a difference in urban neighbourhoods. Smart Urban Intermediaries, 2019. 47 p.
Urie A, McNeil F, Cathcart Froden L, Collinson Scott J, Crockett Thomas P, Escobar O et al. Reintegration, hospitality and hostility: Song-writing and song-sharing in criminal justice. Journal of Extreme Anthropology. 2019 Aug 22;3(1):77-101. https://doi.org/10.5617/jea.6914
Watson N, Escobar O. Key messages about public service reform in Scotland - Final Report from What Works Scotland. What Works Scotland, 2019.
Paterson A, Nelis P, Escobar O. Strengthening community councils: Exploring how they can contribute to democratic renewal in Scotland. What Works Scotland and Scottish Community Development Centre, 2019. 80 p.
Cullingworth J, Escobar O. Participation and representation: Strengthening the third sector voice in local governance. What Works Scotland, 2019. 24 p.
Escobar O, Katz B. Mainstreaming participatory budgeting: What works in building foundations for a more participatory democracy? Edinburgh: What Works Scotland, 2018. 8 p.
Escobar O. Participar, para qué? In Alegre Zahonero L, De Marco S, Pindado F, Rodriguez-Pinzón E, Rubio Núñez R, Saavedra S, editors, Participación Social en un Mundo en Cambio. Madrid: UNIR. 2018. p. 35-42. (Nueva Revista de Política, Cultura y Arte - Cuadernos NR, Serie Estudios 2).
Weakley S, Escobar O. Community Planning after the Community Empowerment Act: The Second Survey of Community Planning Officials in Scotland. What Works Scotland, 2018. 94 p.
Campbell M, Escobar O, Fenton C, Craig P. The impact of Participatory Budgeting on health and wellbeing: A scoping review of evaluations. BMC Public Health. 2018 Jul 3;18(822):1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5735-8
Escobar O, Garven F, Harkins C, Glazik K, Cameron S, Stoddart A. Participatory budgeting in Scotland: The interplay of public service reform, community empowerment and social justice. In Dias N, editor, Hope for democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide. Faro, Portugal: Epopeia Records & Oficina. 2018. p. 310
Escobar O, Kandlik Eltanani M, Gibb K, Weakley S. Community Planning Officials Survey: Understanding the everyday work of local participatory governance in Scotland. What Works Scotland, 2018. 74 p.
Escobar O, Weakley S, Kandlik Eltanani M, Gibb K. Summary Briefing: Community Planning Officials Survey. Edinburgh: What Works Scotland, 2018. 8 p.
Bua A, Escobar O. Participatory-deliberative processes and public policy agendas: Lessons for policy and practice. Policy Design and Practice. 2018;1(2):126-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/25741292.2018.1469242
Escobar O, Morton S, Lightbody R, Seditas K. Hard to reach or easy to ignore: Promoting equality in community engagement. Edinburgh: What Works Scotland, 2017. 1 p.
Escobar O. Pluralism and democratic participation: What kind of citizen are citizens invited to be? Contemporary Pragmatism. 2017 Nov 28;14(4):416-438. https://doi.org/10.1163/18758185-01404002
Campbell M, Craig P, Escobar O. Participatory budgeting and health and wellbeing: a systematic scoping review of evaluations and outcomes. The Lancet. 2017 Nov 1;390(S30):30-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32965-3
Escobar O (Author), Faulkner W (Author). Facilitative Leadership: Involving citizens and communities in local decision making What Works Scotland webpage: What Works Scotland. 2017.
Escobar O, Elstub S. Forms of mini-publics: An introduction to deliberative innovations in democratic practice. newDemocracy Foundation, 2017. 16 p. (Research and Development Notes).
Escobar O, Elstub S. Deliberative innovations: Using ‘mini-publics’ to improve participation and deliberation at the Scottish Parliament. Citizen Participation Network website, 2017. 1 p.
Escobar O. What Works in Participatory Budgeting: Taking stock and thinking ahead. 2017. 7 p.
Escobar O. Making it official: Participation professionals and the challenge of institutionalizing deliberative democracy. In Bherer L, Gauthier M, Simard L, editors, The Professionalization of Public Participation. New York; Abingdon: Routledge. 2017. p. 141-164 https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315637983
Nugent B, Escobar O. Fun, Food and Folk: The Centrestage approach to dignified food provision. What Works Scotland, 2017. 84 p.
Escobar O, Harkins C, Moore K. Review of 1st Generation Participatory Budgeting in Scotland. What Works Scotland, 2016. 30 p.
Escobar O, Cullingworth J. Third Sector participation and representation in East Lothian. What Works Scotland, 2016. 11 p.
Escobar O. Response: Beyond anti-politics through democratic innovation. Renewal: a journal of social democracy. 2016 Jul 31;24(2):20-24.
Durose C, Van Hulst M, Jeffares S, Escobar O, Agger A, De Graaf L. Five Ways to Make a Difference: Perceptions of Practitioners Working in Urban Neighborhoods. Public Administration Review. 2016 Jun 29;76(4):576-586. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12502
Escobar O, Harkins C. Participatory Budgeting in Scotland: An overview of strategic design choices and principles for effective delivery. Glasgow: Glasgow Centre for Population Health and What Works Scotland., 2015. 44 p.
Escobar O. Reimagining Community Planning in Scotland: A Vision from the Third Sector. August 2015 ed. Edinburgh: What Works Scotland, 2015. 23 p.
Escobar O. Scripting deliberative policy-making: Dramaturgic policy analysis and engagement know-how. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis. 2015 May 27;17(3):269-285. https://doi.org/10.1080/13876988.2014.946663
Escobar O, Jennifer R. Involving communities in deliberation: A study of three citizens’ juries on onshore wind farms in Scotland. ClimateXChange, 2015. 255 p.
Escobar O. Upstream public engagement, downstream policy-making? The Brain Imaging Dialogue as a community of inquiry. Science and Public Policy. 2014 Jul 1;41(4):480-492. https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/sct073
Escobar O. Strengthening local democracy in Scotland: The faith perspective. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, 2014. 24 p.
Escobar O. Strengthening local democracy in Scotland: The VAS/TSI perspective. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, 2014. 24 p.
Escobar O, Faulkner W, Rea HJ. Building capacity for dialogue facilitation in public engagement around research. Journal of Dialogue Studies. 2014 Apr;2(1):87-111.
Escobar O. Strengthening local democracy in Scotland: The community councils perspective. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, 2014. 38 p.
Escobar O. Towards Participatory Democracy in Scotland. In POST, editor, Scotland 44: Ideas for a new nation. Edinburgh: POST. 2014. p. 24-33
Escobar O, Elstub S. Mini-publics in Scotland - Annex D, Final Report of the Commission on Fair Access to Political Influence. Reid Commission on Fair Access to Political Influence, 2013.
Pieczka M, Escobar O. Dialogue and science: Innovation in policy-making and the discourse of public engagement in the UK. Science and Public Policy. 2013 Feb 1;40(1):113-126. https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scs073
Escobar O. Commentary: Public Engagers and the Political Craft of Participatory Policy Making. Public Administration Review. 2013 Jan 17;73(1):36-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12008
Escobar O. Public dialogue and deliberation: A communication perspective for public engagement practitioners. Edinburgh: UK Beacons for Public Engagement, 2011. 75 p.
Escobar O. Suspending disbelief: Obama and the role of emotions in political communication. In Engelken-Jorge M, Ibarra Güell P, Moreno del Río C, editors, Politics and Emotions: The Obama Phenomenon. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. 2011. p. 109-128
Wardlaw JM, O'connell G, Shuler K, Dewilde J, Haley J, Escobar O et al. “Can It Read My Mind?” – What Do the Public and Experts Think of the Current (Mis)Uses of Neuroimaging? PLoS ONE. 2011;6(10):e25829. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025829