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Journal Article

Symposium: James S. Fishkin, Democracy When the People Are Thinking


James Fishkin has had a crucial role when linking the literature and experiments based on randomly selected mini-publics with the theory of deliberative democracy. He has been one of the major actors in the first wave of mini-publics, which were top-down one-shot devices, controlled by their inventors, embodying deliberative democracy, advisory and complementary to representative democracy. Fishkin's last book shows part of the evolution towards a second wave, where mini-publics are more open to hybridization, are articulated to direct and participatory democracy and not only to representative government, and begin to be institutionalized. However, it falls short of taking the structural power relations and the importance of social movements seriously, which makes more difficult to link randomly selected mini-publics with a systemic democratization of democracy.

Yves Sintomer
Journal Name
The Good Society
Publication Date
Penn State University Press