Democracy Through Multi-Body Sortition: Athenian Lessons for the Modern Day

Abstract

Mature Classical Athenian democracy is presented as a representative system, rather than the commonly described form of “direct democracy.” When viewed in this way, the commonly assumed problem of scale in applying Athenian democracy to modern nation states is solved, and principles and practices of the Athenian model of democracy continue to have relevance today. The key role of sortition (selection by lot) to form multiple deliberative bodies is explained. Five dilemmas faced by modern proposals for the use of sortition are examined. Finally, a new model of lawmaking using multiple allotted bodies is presented, which resolves these dilemmas and which can be implemented in many ways, from a small addition to an existing system to a more fundamental reform such as replacing one or both elected chambers of a legislature.

Keywords

Representation, Athens, demarchy, innovation, random selection, sortition, democracy

How to Cite

Bouricius T., (2013) “Democracy Through Multi-Body Sortition: Athenian Lessons for the Modern Day”, Journal of Public Deliberation 9(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.156

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Authors

Terrill G. Bouricius (New Democracy Institute)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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