Literature-related question

Hi everyone,

I’m wondering whether any readers have insights about books and/or articles which build on/critique John Burheim’s path-breaking and overarching model of demarchy, and/or apply demarchy to non-government organizations such as corporations or unions. I’m conducting some research in this space and haven’t been able to find too much work specifically on demarchy in published work (but have found a lot about specific uses of random selection). Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

4 Responses

  1. Hi Simon,

    John Burnheims book was reviewed in a few journals in the 1980s, but rarely in a constructive way:
    Ajzenstat in Canadian Journal of Political Science, 19:3 (1986) 637-639;
    Heller, Thesis Eleven, 14 (1986) 129-132;
    HIrst, The Sociological Review, 34: 3 (1986), 669-673;
    Lynch, Economy and Society, 18:1 (1989), 110-124.

    I hope this will help a little!
    best wishes

    Paul Lucardie


  2. Simon,

    My new book The Demarchy Manifesto (Imprint Academic) , has not been reviewed as yet, but has come in fo alot of flack on this site.

    I think of the sort of reforms we need not as a program, but as a matter of getting small changes accepted as solutions of specific problems. The chances of getting “overarching” changes are zero. Social change works best by a process of continuing adaptation of exist in practices, supplemented by an occasional bit of introducing new practices in specific contexts, and we have had enough evidence of the dangers of trying to institute planned social change on the basis of some postulated consensus. Where something clearly needs to be done I believe that demarchic councils, addressing a thorough public debate and attempting to draw a practical suggestion from it, could work. But nobody has tried that at the level of big problems like the international financial system or responses to climate change.

    However there has been a lot of success with citizen juries at the local level. What has been lacking is any consistent movement to push their development. As I argue in the book, we need a well-financed and organised foundation devoted to selling and developing such initiatives. Here in Australia the New Democracy foundation is a good start. See their website and the writings of professor Lyn Carson.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Paul and John for your thoughtful comments and recommendations. I will check out all of the work you both suggested. All the best, Simon.


  4. Hi Simon (and John),

    You are welcome. I forgot to add that I discuss John’s book also in my Democratic Extremism in Theory and Practice (London: Routledge, 2014, pp 118-124). One element I like about demarchy is the idea of functional allotted councils, e.g. a Public Transport Council of randomly selected regular train and bus passengers, a Library Council of members/regular readers of a public library etc. that would give binding advice to the management. Without some power, however limited, I am afraid the demarchic councils would not be representative bodies but attract only the usual suspects, ‘busybodies’ and quarrelmongers.
    best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

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