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Journal Article

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


In this essay I offer responses to seven distinguished critics of my book, Democracy When the People Are Thinking (Oxford University Press, 2018). I defend the book, and my research program, against charges that I am too pessimistic about the public dialogue and the prospects for deliberation outside organized mini-publics. I further defend the book against the charge that institutionalization of my Deliberative Polling approach (or related models) would simply replace one form of unaccountable elite rule with another. I also engage and in many cases accept several suggestions for enhancing the normative and sociological legitimacy of Deliberative Polling, embedding it more deeply into decisional processes, and devoting further thought to certain normative, empirical, and practical issues to which I have not previously given sustained attention—including issues of inclusion that might arise from complex or ambiguous jurisdictions.

James Fishkin
Journal Name
The Good Society
Publication Date
Penn State University Press