Welcome to episode 3 in Season 3 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. Season 3 is about elections, electoral systems, electoral reform and alternatives. In this episode I’m speaking with Professor John Gastil. John is a Professor in the Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University as well as a Senior Scholar in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. He studies political deliberation and group decision making across a range of contexts.
Recently John and Erik Olin Wright, as part of the Real Utopias project, held a three-day workshop called Legislature by Lot. Thanks to David Schecter I was able to interview John shortly after this workshop to learn more about what was discussed. A copy of the agenda for the workshop which includes the attendees is available with the Show Notes for this episode.
John described this workshop as ‘a deliberation about deliberation’.
John spoke about
the origins of the Legislature by Lot workshop [1:32]
the different ways to implement sortition (random selection) [3:54]
some of the arguments in favour of a legislature selected by lot [5:44]
different models of sortition [7:40]
responding to criticisms of legislature by lot [10:11]
how to design an oversight body to support a legislature selected by lot [14:10]
the prospect of institutional change and transition strategies [18:34]
moving the agenda of using sortition forward [23:43]
how much work is happening around the world to test and promote the use of sortition [28:35]
what representation and accountability means for bodies selected by sortition [30:29]
deliberation, consensus, contention and voting [34:35 and 38:50]
what the workshop agreed on [43:18]
what might happen after the workshop: building links between researchers and practitioners [45:34]
responses to critiques of empowered mini-publics [49:35]
when the book arising from the workshop will be published [53:07]