When Citizens Decide: Lessons from Citizen Assemblies on Electoral Reform
Oxford University Press, Jun 9, 2011 - Political Science - 194 pages
Three unprecedented large-scale democratic experiments have recently taken place. Citizen assemblies on electoral reform were conducted in British Columbia, the Netherlands, and Ontario. Groups of randomly selected ordinary citizens were asked to independently design the next electoral system. In each case, the participants spent almost an entire year learning about electoral systems, consulting the public, deliberating, debating, and ultimately deciding what specific institutionshould be adopted.When Citizens Decide uses these unique cases to examine claims about citizens' capacity for democratic deliberation and active engagement in policy-making. It offers empirical insight into numerous debates and provides answers to a series of key questions: 1) Are ordinary citizens able to decide about a complex issue? Are their decisions reasonable? 2) Who takes part in such proceedings? Are they dominated by people dissatisfied by the status quo? 3) Do some citizens play a moreprominent role than others? Are decisions driven by the most vocal or most informed members? 4) Did the participants decide by themselves? Were they influenced by staff, political parties, interest groups, or the public hearings? 5) Does participation in a deliberative process foster citizenship? Did participantsbecome more trusting, tolerant, open-minded, civic-minded, interested in politics, and active in politics? 6) How do the other political actors react? Can the electorate accept policy proposals made by a group of ordinary citizens?The analyses rely upon various types of evidence about both the inner workings of the assemblies and the reactions toward them outside: multi-wave panel surveys of assembly members, content analysis of newspaper coverage, and public opinion survey data. The lessons drawn from this research are relevant to those interested in political participation, public opinion, deliberation, public policy, and democracy.Comparative Politics is a series for students, teachers, and researchers of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterised by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit: www.essex.ac.uk/ecpr. The Comparative Politics Series is edited by ProfessorDavid M. Farrell, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Kenneth Carty, Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, and Professor Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Institute of Political Science, Philipps University, Marburg.
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1 Power to the People?
2 Why Citizen Assemblies and How did they Work?
3 Who were the Participants?
4 How did the Decisions Come About?
5 Did the Citizen Assemblies Make the Right Decisions?
6 Did the Participants Decide by Themselves?
7 Did Participants Become Better Citizens?
8 Why were the Assemblies Reform Proposals Rejected?
9 Should we Let Citizens Decide?
Description of Electoral Systems
Question Labels Wordings and Codings for Chapter 5 British Columbiathe NetherlandsOntario
Question Labels Wordings and Codings for Chapter 7 British Columbiathe NetherlandsOntario
Question Labels Wordings and Codings for Chapter 8 200520072009 Referendums
Other editions - View all
100 if strongly analyses André Blais assembly members Assembly on Electoral assembly participants assembly process assembly’s attitudes BC-STV British Columbia assembly Burgerforum campaign candidates cent chair Chapter coalition Columbia and Ontario Columbia The Netherlands criteria debate decision-making deliberation phase deliberative democracy deliberative polls democratic discussion Dutch assembly election electoral reform electoral system evaluations expect favour first-past-the-post impact important individuals influence involved issue judgement knowledge learning phase legislature less list-PR majority mixed member proportional Netherlands Ontario Ontario assembly open-list PR opinions options outcomes participatory political interest political parties politicians population positive principles proportional representation proportionality province question ratings recommendation referendum reform proposals representative role seats self-selection Significant at 0.05 single member plurality single transferable vote specific status quo strongly agree strongly disagree STV/MMP Table three assemblies three citizen assemblies values variables voter choice weekends