In politics, sortition (also known as allotment or the drawing of lots) is the selection of decision makers by lottery. The decision-makers are chosen as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.
In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the primary method for appointing officials, and its use was widely regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.
Dates: Thursday, 11 October 2012 (9am to 5pm) and Friday, 12 October (9am to 12pm)
Venue: Trinity College Dublin
This workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary research team from across Europe to consider the lottery as a democratic institution. The event is being jointly organised by Gil Delannoi (Science Po), Oliver Dowlen (Oxford) and Peter Stone (Trinity College Dublin).
The large and growing problems facing modern democracies have led many to reconsider the idea of selecting some political officials by lot. The randomly-selected jury remains widely regarded as a model of bringing ordinary people together to make vital public decisions; as a result, there are now many proposals to use the lottery as a democratic institution more expansively.
But while the idea of selecting political officials by lot is receiving more and more attention, it still strikes many people as unrealistic and utopian. This is partly because there remain difficult unanswered questions about lotteries. This workshop will focus upon the following three of those questions:
1) What can lotteries contribute to politics?
2) How lotteries best be incorporated into modern democratic institutions?
3) What research questions on lotteries still need to be addressed?
This report will serve as the basis for conversation among the invited speakers:
Preliminary draft report on the lottery as a democratic institution (PDF, 206KB)
All are welcome to join this conversation on using the luck of the draw to save modern democracy. However, as space is limited advance registration is required. To register please contact the Policy Institute:
Caption: Etienne Chouard - Looking for the mother of all causes (French with english subtitles available)