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Digital Technology and Democratic Theory$
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Lucy Bernholz, Héléne Landemore, and Rob Reich

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748436

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748603.001.0001

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Open Democracy and Digital Technologies

Open Democracy and Digital Technologies

(p.62) 2 Open Democracy and Digital Technologies
Digital Technology and Democratic Theory

Hélène Landemore

University of Chicago Press

The most attractive normative theory of democracy currently available—Habermas’s model of a two-track deliberative sphere—is, for all its merits, a self-avowed rationalization of representative democracy, a system born in the eighteenth century under different epistemological, conceptual, and technological constraints. This chapter show the limits of this model and defends instead the alternative paradigm of “open democracy,” in which digital technologies are used to transcend the dichotomy of ordinary citizens and democratic representatives. Rather than just imagining a digitized version or extension of existing institutions and practices—representative democracy as we know it—the chapter thus takes the opportunities offered by the digital revolution to envision new democratic institutions, such as randomly selected legislatures connected to democratically crowdsourcing platforms, from the local to the global level. What would democracy look like if we could reinvent it from scratch?

Keywords:   open democracy, open minipublics, elections, democratic representation, deliberation, representative democracy, lottocratic representation, Facebook, Citizenbook, liquid democracy

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