2022-23 Lloyd & Susanne Rudolph Field Research Fellow



Project Title: The Participatory Foundations of Democracy in New England: Institutional Innovation, Political Legitmiation, and Popular Domincation during the Colonial Era 




My dissertation project investigates the participatory foundations of democracy in the colony of Massachusetts. It analyzes the relationship between the analytically distinct but temporally interconnected processes of institutional innovation, political legitimation, and popular domination by studying the formation, diffusion, and transformation of the institutional mechanisms based on popular participation. In particular, the project attempts to explore the following questions: Why were these various institutional mechanisms based on popular participation created in the first place? Why did the freemen continue to participate regularly in these institutions throughout the colonial era despite the revocation of their initial charter and then the granting of the seemingly more restrictive charter in 1691? What was the source of their motivation amid all social, economic, political, and military transformations? What kind of values and principles guided their collective action? Where did the legitimacy of the participatory institutional mechanisms as well as their collective action spring from? In the end, why did the ordinary New Englanders’ participation in these institutional mechanisms constitute a legitimate form of collective action? 

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Can Mert Kökerer is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Chicago. His research interests include democracy, popular politics, and participatory institutions. 


Read more at their department profile: https://sociology.uchicago.edu/directory/can-mert-k%C3%B6kerer