Books by Members

Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David van Reybrouck

“Without drastic adjustment, democracy cannot last much longer,” writes David Van Reybrouck. In this book, he makes a compelling argument that the problems of democracy cannot be solved through elections alone. He then describes new forms of democracy, based on jury-like bodies of randomly selected citizens, that are beginning to be practiced around the world, and that can overcome the limitations of relying on elections alone. This book has been translated into more than 20 languages. For more information, click here.

 

Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen’s Guide to Reinventing Politics by Manuel Arriaga

Our democracies are failing us. From Occupy Wall Street to the riots in São Paulo, millions have taken to the streets to voice their frustration. But is there anything
we can do about it?

Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen’s Guide to Reinventing Politics takes readers on a global journey in search of solutions. From Vancouver to Saint Petersburg, from France to Australia, we discover that there are sensible ways to reform our democracies. As we travel the globe and zoom in on these real-world democratic breakthroughs, we also pick up insights from the social sciences—from key ideas in political science, sociology and economics to the latest research in social and cognitive psychology—that clarify why elected politicians will always fail to represent us.

In a concise and engaging way, this book invites readers to explore
five concrete, innovative ideas that will change the way we do
politics. For more information, click here. Also available for free download here.

The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy by Brett Hennig

Our politics is broken, but it can be fixed. A real democracy is not only possible — it is an urgent necessity.

Provocative, succinct and inspiring, The End of Politicians combines insights from the history of democracy with a critical understanding of the information revolution to explain how we can fix democracy by eliminating politicians and replacing them with a representative network of everyday citizens.

A wealth of recent evidence has shown that groups of randomly selected, everyday people can and do make balanced, informed and trusted decisions. These citizens’ assemblies are legitimate, accountable, competent and, above all, convincing demonstrations that we can govern ourselves. For more information, click here.

The Australian Citizens Parliament and the Future of Democracy by Lyn Carson, John Gastil, Janette Hartz-Karp, & Ron Lubensky (editors)

In 2009, an extraordinary event occurred in Australia’s Parliament House – 350 randomly selected Australian citizens gathered to address the question, “How can Australia’s political system be strengthened to serve us better?The ACP’s Canberra assembly is the first large-scale, face-to-face deliberative project to be completely audio-recorded and transcribed, enabling an unprecedented level of qualitative and quantitative assessment of participants’ actual spoken discourse. Each chapter reports on different research questions for different purposes to benefit different audiences. Combined, they exhibit how diverse modes of research focused on a single event can enhance both theoretical and practical knowledge about deliberative democracy. For more information, click here.

Random Selection in Politics by Lyn Carson & Brian Martin

How might the entire citizenry of a country make the decisions that affect them? Carson and Martin provide the first accessible and comprehensive overview of random selection as a possible process for transforming our modern political systems. Building on the theoretical work of the likes of John Burnheim and Fred Emery and drawing on their own work with social action groups, they outline a set of methods that go beyond the mere tapping of community opinion to reveal not only preferences but a more active role in creating the community. Available in full online here.

The quality of public participation procedures: evaluation and assurance of standards using the example of planning cells and citizen reports by Hans-Liudger Dienel, Antoine Vergne, Kerstin Franzl, Raban Fuhrmann, Hans J. Lietzmann

Deliberative democracy is booming. Many processes, however, are missing minimum qualitaty standards. There is nearly no professional education for facilitators, and there are only few formally agreed standards.The articles of the collected volume develop quality criteria and standards for deliberative processes, and build a basis for the necessary institutionalization of informal citizen’s participation.

Planning Cells (German word for citizen’s juries or mini publics) and citizen’s reports are comparatively highly standardized and therefore are a good case for studying the effects of qualitity managment, standardization and institutionalization of citizen’s participation. The articles of the book develop a program for institutionalization of deliberative democracy in a comparative way. The book is an offspring of a conference at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Berlin. For more information, click here.

Citizen’s participation in action by The Mitarbeit Foundation

The Stiftung Mitarbeit (Mitarbeit Foundation for Collaboration) and the Austrian Association for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT) together published the 6th edition of the handbook “Citizen’s participation in action”. The handbook presents short descriptions of the 28 most used deliberative methods and processes in a both theoretical and very practical way, with one or two case examples. The processes include methods from “activating surveys” to “future conferences”. While many other handbooks focus mainly on deliberative methods for urban development, this 320 page handbook comprises many more applications and addresses a much wider audience. It is the most widely distributed handbook for participation and deliberation in Germany. For more information, click here.

Citizens’ Participation in Urban Planning and Development in Iran by Hans-Liudger Dienel, M. Reza Shirazi, Sabine Schröder, and Jenny Schmithals

During recent years, the topic of deliberative democracy in urban development has increasingly been gaining importance in Iran – in the scientific field, in practice and rhetoric. However, in current scientific literature – and especially in English literature – there is little knowledge on the conditions, legal background, perceptions, experiences and processes of citizens’ participation in Iran.

This book aims to shed light on the paradoxical question of participation in Iran: it is old and new, dysfunctioning and functioning, disappointing and promising. This slippery status of participation convinces scholars to suggest contradictory interpretations and understandings about the existence, functionality, and potentiality of this concept. The book therefore shows the different perspectives, interpretations, historical developments and case studies of participation in Iran, thus giving the reader a kaleidoscope view on the question of participation in Iran. For more information, click here.

Deliberative Democracy’s Challenges – New Politics Opened by Mini-Publics by Hajime Shinohara, Akinori Shinoto, Tatsurou Sakano, Naoyuki Mikami et al

An informative and insightful introduction to mini-publics, incorporating an informed public voice into public policy through discussions by randomly selected citizens. The book covers multiple methods, including Deliberative Polling in the USA, Consensus Conferences in Denmark, Planning Cells in Germany, theCitizen Assembly in British Columbia, Canada, Citizen Conference (Shimintogikai) in Japan, Citizen Juries in the USA and UK, European Citizens’ Consultations in EU, and the 21st Century Town Meeting in the USA. For more information, click here.