Participation beyond the usual suspects: The case for sortition

  • How can we include the broader community beyond the usual suspects in participation? 
  • Why is using sortition (using a randomly selected, representative sample) in participative processes essential for democracy?
  • How do citizens’s assemblies transform political decision-making?
  • Why are governments all over the world using citizens’ assemblies?
  • What are some of the most successful examples of citizen assemblies?
  • How impactful are citizen assemblies?

WHERE: KÉK (Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre), 1111 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 10-12., Budapest

WHEN: Thursday 25 April 2024 19.00-21.00

Hosted by Levente Polyák – Eutropian / Cooperative City


19.00-19.30: Lukács Hayes: Experimental forms of deliberative democracy – The EUARENAS Toolbox  

19.30-21.00: Brett Hennig: Participation beyond the usual suspects: The case for sortition

The event’s speaker, Brett Hennig, believes there is a better way to make political decisions: by citizens’ assemblies. Citizens’ assemblies are an innovative and powerful way to make political decisions which can bypass powerful vested interests that often exert undue influence on policy outcomes.

To be in a citizens’ assembly you must be randomly selected, through a representative sample (through sortition). You cannot buy your way in, nor can you simply turn up. This makes it fair for everyone. Everyone should, ideally, have an equal chance of being selected. And who knows, for the next citizens’ assembly maybe it could be you?

Brett Hennig is a director and co-founder of the Sortition Foundation which helped run the Global Assembly and campaigns to institute the use of democratic lotteries (also called sortition) in government. 

After spending several disheartening years in civil society organisations and politics, Hennig became inspired by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s trilogy on political philosophy and began investigating and researching network forms of democracy. The resulting book, The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy, has been called “a book for visionaries” by New Internationalist.

Hennig has given many talks promoting sortition and has contributed a chapter, “Who needs elections? Accountability, Equality, and Legitimacy under Sortition,” to the book Legislature by Lot: Transformative Designs for Deliberative Governance.  

Lukács Hayes: Experimental forms of deliberative democracy - The EUARENAS Toolbox 

The Toolbox of Experimental Participatory Methods is a comprehensive resource providing municipalities and stakeholders with practical tools, case studies, and best practices, promoting a culture of participation.

Beyond merely providing resources, it fosters a mindset of exploration and learning, catering to both experienced practitioners and newcomers to the field. It is a project developed within the framework of the EUARENAS Horizon 2020 funded project, by Eutropian, a company and association developing collaborative planning processes in various cities in Europe.

Lukács Hayes is a political scientist and expert on participation and deliberative democracy. He’s a researcher at Eutropian and co-founder of Cooperative City

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