“Demiocracy”—a Nifty Neologism

We need a term that parallels “democracy”: one that names a system of government in one word. Demiocracy and its cognates (Demiocrat & Demiocratic) do this.

Moreover, Demiocracy is not an unduly puzzling new word: it immediately communicates:

1) That it’s a variant of democracy (only an “i” has been added), and

2) That it’s something small (a “demi-democracy”), from the prefix “demi,” whose dictionary definition is “half, semi, partial.” (The last item, “partial,” fits Demiocracy best.) (Demiocracy and its cognates should always be capitalized, so readers realize it’s not the word “democracy” (which is ordinarily lower-cased).)

Terms like “citizens jury” and “citizens assembly” are useful in places, but: 1) They lack cognates. 2) They are more descriptive than “Demiocracy,” but they aren’t adequately descriptive. A person encountering those terms might wonder, “Don’t we already have juries made up of citizens?” or “Don’t we already have town meetings?” Most importantly, 3) they fail to suggest the vital ingredient of diminution (via sampling), which “demi” does.

  1. Other terms lacking cognates are allotment and demarchy, although they can be used where appropriate.
  2. These terms do have cognates, but are obvious non-starters: lottocracy, stochocracy, and klerocracy.
  3. Sortition has cognates in sortitionism and sortitionistic, but those words lack the common touch. They’re my second choice—or maybe my third, after juristocracy. (I like “Sortinista” for a proponent of sortitionism.) It’s not perfect—but what is? It’s better than the alternatives, all things considered.

Here are other terms that can usefully employ the “demi” prefix and thereby mesh with Demiocracy:

Demi-public and Demi-jury: A citizens jury of one of the three types below; a body of lot-winners (regardless off the details of the lottery), used in place of Dahl’s term, “mini-public.”

  1. Demi-advisory panel: A Demi-public with advisory powers only. (Abbreviated as “Demi-AP”.)
  2. Demi-electorate: A Demi-public with electoral powers—i.e.,  to elect one or more office-holders. It might also have advisory powers.
  3. Demi-assembly (or Demi-Conclave): A Demi-public with the power to pass legislation—though perhaps only on to another legislative chamber, or on a specific topic or resolution. It might also have advisory and/or electoral powers.

Members of the above bodies would be called Demi-jurors, Demi-advisors, Demi-electors, and Demi-assemblymen / Demi-assemblywomen.

Demi-dubbing: The process of selecting a citizen to serve on a Demi-jury by some randomization process. The person so selected has been “dubbed” and he/she is a Demi-winner or Dubbee (i.e., dubbed by “the fickle finger of fate”).