3.3 Legislature by Lot with Professor John Gastil
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. Here is a copy of the agenda for the workshop which includes the attendees.
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]
John mentioned the work of the Sortition Foundation, the newDemocracy Foundation to promote the use of sortition.