Query regarding a reading list

I’m wondering if anyone has a recommended reading list. In particular what are opinions about either of the following regarding relevance to the promotion or understanding of sortitional selection?

11 Responses

  1. Manin’s book is a good short guide on the use of sortition from classical to early-modern times, but he then goes on to dismiss its potential for modern societies, arguing that current forms of “audience democracy” are just as valid as their precursors (parliamentary and party democracy). This has been subject to a number of critiques, for example:


    I haven’t read Fukuyama’s new book — does he deal with sortition in it?


  2. I’m reading Fukuyama at the moment. Nothing on Sortition in the Index.

    It’s a heavyweight book (literally!) and heavy going. So far (p210 out of 580) it’s more promise than delivery — promises to explain how states evolve from tribal collectives, but so far, only obscure stuff about China and India in olden times.

    I’ll get back if I find anything of interest.


  3. That wasn’t Anonymous, that was Conall!


  4. Here is my reading list. I haven’t read all of them yet, but most of them. Manin’s book is good…primarily the historic underpinnings of the American choice in the Constitution of election instead of sortition.

    · Sortition: Theory and Practice, edited by Oliver Dowlen and Gil Delannoi (2010). A collection of academic papers from a Paris conference.
    · When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation, by James S. Fishkin (2009). This is the latest of Fishkin’s books that discuss a system combining polling with deliberation among random samples of citizens. While not sortition as such, he proposes this system using similar reasoning.
    · The Political Potential of Sortition: a study of the random selection of citizens for public office, by Oliver Dowlen (2008). Dowlen primarily focuses on the arational, or “blind break” of random selection, where removing choice from human decision enhances a sense of fairness or protection from corruption. Much of the book deals with the details of the use of random selection in Italian city republics of the 16th century.
    · Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America, by Kevin O’Leary (2006). Random sampling to form a virtual legislature is a major element of his plan.
    · Deliberative Democracy In America: A Proposal For A Popular Branch Of Government, by Ethan J. Leib (2005). Leib sets forth a proposal for a new branch of government using sortition.
    · By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy Through Deliberative Elections, by John Gastil (2000). Gastil deals with a concept related to sortition within and electoral framework, specifically, a randomly selected policy body in each congressional district, comprising a virtual third chamber.
    · Random Selection in Politics by Lyn Carson & Brian Martin (1999). Carson and Martin cover both historical and possible future uses of random selection and sortition in politics.
    · Random Justice: On Lotteries and Legal Decision-Making , by Neil Duxbury (1999). While touching on sortition and lottery voting (selecting random ballots to form a proportionally representative body), the focus of the book is the use of chance in legal decisions rather than selecting officials.
    · Random Selection in Politics, by Lyn Carson & Brian Martin (1999). They include sortition for representative bodies.
    · Toward an Ethic of Citizenship: Creating a Culture of Democracy for the 21st Century by William Dustin (2000). Dustin discusses many aspects of citizenship and extends the concept of the jury to the legislative realm as well.
    · The Principles of Representative Government by Bernard Manin (1997). Manin traces the history of election and sortition with regards to aristocracy and democracy, with keen insights into the thinking of the framers of the U.S. constitution.
    · The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy, by James Fishkin (1995). Fishkin primarily deals with advisory deliberative polling and policy juries (which he essentially invented).
    · Justice by Lottery, by Barbara Goodwin (1992, 2005). Goodwin takes a broader view of the social justice and equality possibilities of lottery distribution of public goods, but also touches on the use of lottery voting (selecting random ballots to create a representative legislature).
    · Is democracy possible? The alternative to electoral politics by John Burnheim, (1985). Burnheim discusses the shortcomings of liberal democracy and the possibility of a non-electoral democracy, which he terms “demarchy.”

    · A People’s Parliament by Keith Sutherland. (2008). Focused on the UK mostly. His plan proposes one chamber (Commons) be selected by lot to pass judgement on laws proposed by an elected chamber.
    · The Athenian Option: Radical Reform for the House of Lords, by Anthony Barnett and Peter Carty (1998), also obviously geared to the U.K audience. It was revised in 2008.
    · A Citizen Legislature, A Modest Proposal for the Random Selection of Legislators by Ernest Callenbach and Michael Phillips (1985). Using a point by point description and defense of their proposal for a bicameral legislature at the state and national level in which one chamber is selected by sortition. This was re-released in 2008, with a companion book aimed at the United Kingdom audience,


  5. Thank you so much for the book list. I’ve read several. I’ll read Manin’s next because I’m not well versed on deliberations of sortition by founders of the U.S.


  6. Terry: May I post your list on The Common Lot website?
    Keith: I’m looking forward to reading your “The Triump of Election”

    P.S. Is there a way to send messages directly to individuals rather than to the whole blog?


  7. > I’m not well versed on deliberations of sortition by founders of the U.S.

    There were no such deliberations. I think the possibility is never even mentioned in any recorded contemporary discussion about the US constitution.


  8. Ollie Dowlen records a minor reference during the Constitutional Convention on pp.167-171 of The Political Potential of Sortition, but it’s true that sortition was not considered seriously by the founders.


  9. Common Lot Sortitionist.

    Yes post the list if you like. i wouldn’t mind credit as the person making the list, but not necessary either.



  10. Thank you, Terry, I’ve posted your bibliography on The Common Lot website. Crediting you of course.


  11. Terry, May I add a URL or e-mail address for you on your listing on The Common Lot “Resources” section?

    [I wish there were a way to directly e-mail individuals through this blog. Yoram: Is there a way?]


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