participatory DEMOCRACY – citizens’ assembly – egalitarian representation -random conventions – epistemic practices



swiki/sortition – In governance, sortition (also known as selection by lottery, selection by lot, allotment, demarchy, stochocracy, aleatoric democracy and lottocracy) is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.[1] Sortition is generally used for filling individual posts or, more usually in its modern applications, to fill collegiate chambers.[citation needed] The system intends to ensure that all competent and interested parties have an equal chance of holding public office. It also minimizes factionalism, since there would be no point making promises to win over key constituencies if one was to be chosen by lot, while elections, by contrast, foster it.[2] In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials, and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy. Today, sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common-law systems and is sometimes used in forming citizen groups with political advisory power.

theguardian. 2012 Improbable research: why random selection of MPs may be best – Mathematical research indicates that parliaments work best when some, though not all, members are chosen at random – by Marc Abrahams

Democracies would be better off if they chose some of their politicians at random. That’s the word, mathematically obtained, from a team of Italian physicists, economists, and political analysts. The team includes the trio whose earlier research showed, also mathematically, that bureaucracies would be more efficient if they promoted people at random.

Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, Cesare Garofalo, and two other colleagues at the University of Catania in Sicily published their new study in a physics journal called Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. The study itself is titled Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators Can Improve Parliament Efficiency. 2018 The Irish abortion referendum: How a Citizens’ Assembly helped to break years of political deadlock – by Michela Palese

Citizens’AssembyProjectTeam 2018 The myth of the citizens’ assembly – It worked in Ireland but it won’t solve Brexit – by Naomi O’Leary

“Put 100 ordinary citizens in a room and together they will solve the most intractable political problems of our time and save democracy in the process. If only things were so simple. Citizens’ assemblies, in which ordinary people are entrusted to carefully consider evidence on an issue and deliver policy recommendations, are the flavor of the month among political geeks across the world. Rory Stewart, one of the Tories vying to be the United Kingdom’s next prime minister, is proposing one to solve Brexit. President Emmanuel Macron has promised a grand débat national to involve the public directly in his efforts to reform France through citizens’ assemblies, online consultations and local meetups. The parliament of Belgium’s German-speaking community has set up a structure to include citizens’ assemblies in its decision-making on a permanent basis. Similar efforts are popping up everywhere from Sydney to Madrid to Gdańsk…”…

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debate, deliberation, decision making PDF 2021 A realist epistemic utopia? Epistemic practices in a climate camp – by Justo Serrano Zamora, Lisa Herzog

INTRODUCTION : Participatory democratic practices are often seen as caught between two ideals: inclusiveness and efficiency. On the one hand, they are meant to provide “democratic deepening” by using inclusive processes and giving everyone a voice; on the other hand, they are expected to deliver good results (Gilman, 2012). But can one have both at once? Can deliberation be more than an “endless meeting” (Polletta, 2004)? And can the positive epistemic potentials of deliberation (Landemore, 2013, chap. 4) and other forms of political participation be unlocked in practice?

In this paper, we discuss a case study that provides reason for cautious optimism: practices of deliberative decision-making and task distribution in a 2019 “climate camp” in Germany. Here, radical ideals of democratic inclusion and horizontality2 came up against practical imperatives of efficiency with regard to the day-to-day organization of the camp. We analyze in detail how the participants in this camp dealt with two kinds of tension: the tension between the use of differential knowledge and the risk of thereby creating hierarchies; and the tension between participatory practices and imperatives of efficiency, which, as noted at the outset, has often been seen as a challenge for deliberative participatory practices.

We argue that through a number of strategies, the participants of the camp managed to overcome these tensions, with the strategies for overcoming the former tension also helping to overcome the second one. We also discuss what this—admittedly very specific—setting can tell us about deliberative practices more generally speaking. Our paper is situated at the intersection of two sets of literature. First, we draw on ideas from deliberative democratic theory (Cohen, 1989; Gutman & Thomson, 2004; Parkinson & Mansbridge, 2012; Young, 2001) and the literature on the epistemic advantages of democratic practices (Anderson, 2006; Landemore, 2013). Many deliberative democrats have pointed out thatsocial movements can be arenas of democratic deliberation (e.g., Dryzek, 2000; Fraser, 1990).

Here, our contribution is to discuss a real-life example, based on ethnographic work of how the epistemic potentials of democratic deliberation can be unlocked, turning it into a positive factor for efficient problem-solving. But we also make explicit that this requires a specific attitude and set of practices that are usually not included in the abstract ideal of deliberation.
Second, our case study also speaks to the literature on participatory democracy (Menser, 2018) and social movement studies (e.g., Della Porta, 2009; Felicetti, 2016; Leach, 2016; Maeckelbergh, 2009; Mansbridge, 1983; Polletta, 2004; Sitrin, 2012). Here, our original contribution follows from focusing on the epistemic tensions of democratic participation. While most of the available research focuses on the problems concerning the effective realization of democratic ideals and reaching consensus, we focus on successful strategies and mechanisms by which the participants deal with knowledge under radically democratic conditions.

In the next section (Section 2), we describe our case study and the ideals of horizontality and inclusion it tried to realize in more detail. We then turn to its epistemic practices, identifying some of the mechanisms and strategies through which the inegalitarian effects of epistemic hierarchies, such as unequal knowledge, are avoided (Section 3.1). This is followed by a discussion of how the second tension, between inclusion and efficiency, was overcome (Section 3.2). We also critically discuss whether the lessons learned from this case can be generalized (Section 4).

In the conclusion (Section 5), we summarize our results: our case study shows that epistemic practices which successfully combine strong democratic ideals of horizontality and efficiency are possible. To this extent, we can describe the epistemic practices of this climate camp as “real epistemic utopias.”

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collective intentionality – research The Journal of Social Ontology

About the Journal : The Journal of Social Ontology (JSO) is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to social ontology and collective intentionality that was founded in 2015. It is supported by International Social Ontology Society and the University of Vienna. JSO features scholarly work pertaining to the basic structures of the social world from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including moral, social and political philosophy, anthropology, cognitive science, economics, history, law, political science, and psychology. The topics that JSO covers range from small-scale everyday interactions to encompassing societal institutions, from expert teams to hierarchical organizations, and from unintended consequences to institutional design. The journal provides a forum for exchanges between scholars of diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. In addition to major articles, JSO publishes review essays, discussion articles, and book reviews.


  • Social ontology and collective intentionality
  • Basic structures of the social world
  • Interdisciplinary perspective including moral, social and political philosophy, sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, human sciences, economics, history, law, political science, and psychology

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real exisisting, history of democracy 2020 Democracy For Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics – by Peter Geoghegan

‘If you’re concerned about the health of British democracy, read this book – it is thorough, gripping and vitally important’ Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland.

Democracy is in crisis, and unaccountable and untraceable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Politicians lie gleefully, making wild claims that can be shared instantly with millions of people on social media. Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and populists in many other countries are the beneficiaries. Peter Geoghegan is a diligent, brilliant guide through a shadowy world of dark money and digital disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond. He shows how antiquated electoral laws are broken with impunity, how secretive lobbying bends our politics out of shape, and how Silicon Valley tech giants have colluded in selling out democracy. Geoghegan investigates politicians, fabulously well-funded partisan think tanks, propagandists who know how to game a rigged system, and the campaigners and regulators valiantly trying to stop them. Democracy for Sale is the story of how money, vested interests and digital skulduggery are eroding trust in democracy – and a powerful account of what must be done about it. 8-2020 Democracy for Sale by Peter Geoghegan review – the end of politics as we know it? The openDemocracy journalist delves into the web of power, money and data manipulation that is bringing our electoral system to its knees – by John Naughton

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