Please note that the speaker series talk by David Lazer, scheduled for Friday, November 11th has been CANCELLED. Thank you for your understanding.
The Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship Speaker Series Presents:
Democracy in a Test Tube: Experiments in Directly Representative Democracy
David Lazer (Northeastern University)
Abstract: The election of 2016 has illuminated a chasm that exists in US democracy between (elected) elites and citizens. More broadly, democracy around the world has been under threat from nativist, populist rebellions, and the rise of deep skepticism of the very institutions of democracy. The possible causes of these trends are many: the decline of secondary associations (“bowling alone”), the polarization of wealth across the globe, and the segregation of viewpoints both residentially and online. Here we propose a partial reform: to use the Internet to strengthen the connection between citizens and their elected representatives—directly representative democracy. We present experiments in which Members of Congress interacted with randomly selected citizens about important issues of the day in online townhalls. The results suggest the possibility of rational conversation between citizens and representatives, with broader and positive ramifications on the body politic.
The talk will be in English.
This series is sponsored by the Inter-university Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (https://csdc-cecd.ca/) which is funded by the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC)