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Designing Deliberative Democracy
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Book description

Is it possible to advance democracy by empowering ordinary citizens to make key decisions about the design of political institutions and policies? In 2004, the government of British Columbia embarked on a bold democratic experiment: it created an assembly of 160 near-randomly selected citizens to assess and redesign the province's electoral system. The British Columbia Citizens' Assembly represents the first time a citizen body has had the power to reform fundamental political institutions. It was an innovative gamble that has been replicated elsewhere in Canada and in the Netherlands, and is gaining increasing attention in Europe as a democratic alternative for constitution-making and constitutional reform. In the USA, advocates view citizens' assemblies as a means for reforming referendum processes. This book investigates the citizens' assembly in British Columbia to test and refine key propositions of democratic theory and practice.

Reviews

‘The British Columbia Citizens' Assembly is a pivotal event in the history of deliberative democracy. The distinguished contributors to this book do the Assembly full justice with close analysis, insightful commentary and critical scrutiny, drawing lessons applicable to democratic reformers everywhere.’

John S. Dryzek - Australian National University

‘British Columbia’s Citizens Assembly was a unique and important experiment in citizen political participation and democratic reform. Designing Deliberative Democracy provides a very rich account of the process from the perspective of the participants, the general public and democratic theory. This book presents convincing evidence of the quality of the CA’s deliberations and draws out the important implications for our theories of deliberative democracy.’

Russell J. Dalton - University of California, Irvine

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Contents

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