Democracy Works

Reason in politics and hope for democracy

Episode Summary

John Gastil and Katherine Knobloch, authors of "Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into Politics" join Democracy Works host Jenna Spinelle for a discussion of deliberative democracy, ballot initiatives and the Citizens Initiative Review.

Episode Notes

"Hope for Democracy" recognizes the primary problems that plague contemporary democracy and offers a solution. It tells the story of one civic innovation, the Citizens' Initiative Review (CIR), which asks a small group of citizens to analyze a ballot measure and then provide recommendations on that measure for the public to use when voting.

It relies on narratives of the civic reformers who developed and implemented the CIR and the citizens who participated in the initial review. Coupled with extensive research, the book uses these stories to describe how the review came into being and what impacts it has on participants and the public.

In this episode, we also discuss the ways that deliberative democracy challenges existing power structures and how it can change participants' thoughts on civic engagement and how they can impact government outside of partisan politics.

Gastil is Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science and Senior Scholar in the McCourtney Institute. Knobloch is Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Colorado State University and Associate Director of the university's Center for Public Deliberation.

Additional Information

Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into Politics

McCourtney Institute for Democracy Virtual Book Club on Hope for Democracy - August 31, 2020, 4 p.m. ET

Citizens Initiative Review

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