This podcast is dedicated to the idea of constitutions and constitutional change as a forum for public engagement and democratic innovation. The podcast features interviews with academics and activists from Iceland and many other countries and people who participated in the innovative efforts of 2009 to 2013 to revise the Icelandic constitution.
Deliberative Poll on the Constitution of Iceland
Sævar Finnbogason talks to Jón Ólafsson and Valgerður Björk Pálsdóttir from the DCD research team about the lessons from the Deliberative Poll on the constitution of Iceland, convened by Icelandic Government, where 230 Randomly selected Icelanders participated in a productive Deliberative meeting. Will the poll influence policy and will Althingi be able to agree on any changes to the constitution? Will the political reality in Iceland and opposition from supporters of the Constitutional Council bill from 2011 prevent changes from succeeding.
Participation and long-term decision-making
Is participatory deliberative democracy suited for long term decision-making? Maija Setälä and her colleagues are currently working with our regional government in south-east Finland where the goal is to involve citizens in long term planning for the region. The deliberations involve working with future scenarios and different types of participation including a citizen assembly. Can randomly selected citizens come up with good long-term policies or is that something only elected representatives can do?
Citizens review panels to the rescue?
Referendums raise questions about voters’ access to reliable information and considered arguments in this age of social media and polarization. In this episode Sævar Finnbogason talks to professor Maija Setälä from the University of Turku, about Citizens Review panels and citizens initiatives. Maija and her colleagues recently carried out an experiment with a citizen’s review panel in Finland, based on the Oregon CIR model.
Can Citizen Assemblies strengthen democracy?
Citizen Assemblies and Deliberative Polls on various issues have been conducted in many countries all over the world and there is also growing interest in other forms of Sortition mini-publics. In the second part of our talk with professor David Farrell we discuss this development and the promise it might hold for the future.
Citizen Assemblies and Constitutional Change in Ireland.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 Iceland and Ireland embarked on constructional revisions. In the episode Sævar Finnbogason talks to professor David Farrell about the main differences between the two countries approaches. David is the project leader for the Irish Citizen Assembly and has advised the Irish government on all three citizen assemblies held in Ireland.
Lawrence Lessig (Part 2) They don't represent us!
In the second part of our conversation Larry talks about his new book, The Don't Represent Us, which looks at the reasons for the crisis of democracy in America (and much of the Western World). What can be done? It seems clear that solving these problems will require significant constitutional changes.