Zoom Webinar Book Talk – Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2020) with the author – Hélène Landemore

Monday, 1 March 2021 17:00 – 18:30 (Hong Kong Time)

To the ancient Greeks, democracy meant gathering in public and debating laws set by a randomly selected assembly of several hundred citizens. To the Icelandic Vikings, democracy meant meeting every summer in a field to discuss issues until consensus was reached. Our contemporary representative democracies are very different. Modern parliaments are gated and guarded, and it seems as if only certain people—with the right suit, accent, wealth, and connections—are welcome. Diagnosing what is wrong with representative government and aiming to recover some of the lost openness of ancient democracies, Open Democracy presents a new paradigm of democracy in which power is genuinely accessible to ordinary citizens. Hélène Landemore favors the ideal of “representing and being represented in turn” over direct-democracy approaches. Supporting a fresh nonelectoral understanding of democratic representation, Landemore recommends centering political institutions around the “open mini-public”—a large, jury-like body of randomly selected citizens gathered to define laws and policies for the polity, in connection with the larger public. She also defends five institutional principles as the foundations of an open democracy: participatory rights, deliberation, the majoritarian principle, democratic representation, and transparency.

AUTHOR: Dr Hélène Landemore is the Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

CHAIR: Dr Benjamin Chen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong

This webinar is organized by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, HKU and will be held via Zoom Meeting.