Sortition

Reimagining democracy

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  • Published 20190507
  • ISBN: 9781925773620
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

ANY DEMOCRACY WORTHY of the name must be an ongoing experiment in institutional design: there must be a willingness to adapt the ways in which representation is handled in order to maintain legitimacy. It is within this context that the idea of sortition arises, a system of appointing office holders not by voting for them, but by random selection, similar to the way our legal system appoints jurors. What I want to do here is make the case for a minimalist implementation of sortition as a way of addressing the persistent and growing view among citizens that governments are failing to properly represent their best interests (for the maximalist view, see my book, The Future of Everything (NewSouth, 2018)). In so doing, I also want to revive the notion of political participation as a good in itself and, ultimately, as a source of joy. Yes, joy.

In his 2014 essay ‘Good For Nothing’, which is about the social roots of personal depression, British writer Mark Fisher sets out what I think we can also see as an overarching rationale for sortition:

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About the author

Tim Dunlop

Tim Dunlop is a Melbourne-based author, public speaker, and a regular contributor to The Guardian and other magazines and newspapers. He is also a...

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