In today’s episode, I’m talking with Dr Roslyn Fuller and Professor Nadia Urbinati.
Dr Roslyn Fuller (dipl. jur./erstes Staatsexamen, Goettingen; PhD, Trinity College Dublin) is a Canadian-Irish academic and columnist, specializing in public international law, and the impact of technological innovation on democracy. Her latest book Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose explores the flaws of representative democracy and how they could be addressed through the application of ancient Athenian principles of demokratia (people power). Her work has appeared, among others, in OpenDemocracy, The Nation, The Toronto Star, Salon and The Irish Times, as well as in many scholarly journals. She is currently a Research Associate at Waterford Institute of Technology and founding member of the Solonian Democracy Institute.
Like Professor Cartledge in episode 1 Roslyn is interested in what we can learn from the democracy of ancient Athens and like him, she sees technology as providing a way to scale up direct democracy.
Nadia takes us through a potted history of representative democracy and explains four key elements of representative democracy and why they are crucial for an operating representative democracy:
Sovereignty of people expressed in electoral appointment of their representatives
Free mandate for representatives
Electoral mechanisms to ensure responsiveness by representatives
Nadia identifies the dual authorities of citizens - our vote and our judgement - which while distinct and different are equally important.
If you would like to hear more from Roslyn and Nadia visit my YouTube channel where I have included videos of other presentations and interviews by these guests.
In next week’s episode, we will hear about a couple of the many different approaches to evaluating representative democracy: the Varieties of Democracy project, the Democracy Barometer, the Unified Democracy Scores and the work done by the Research Centre on Democracies and Democratizations in Rome. I hope you’ll join me then.