Jamie Pow: Democracy Without Politicians? Citizen-Centred Democratic Solutions in Northern Ireland

If you’ve been following the news in Northern Ireland lately you might have noticed the serious political crisis emerging there, which has led to the resignation of the Deputy First Minister and the de facto resignation of the First Minister. Ostensibly the cause is a row over renewable energy incentives, but it points to deeper problems in Stormont’s power-sharing arrangement that threaten to undermine the legitimacy of Northern Irish institutions in the long term.

Today on The Provocateur I talk to Jamie Pow, who is a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast, about his arguably radical solution to Northern Ireland’s institutional difficulties: an assembly of randomly-shared citizens that would deliberate on contentious legislative matters. We discuss the experience of other places where citizens’ assemblies have been tried, the particular challenges faced by the Northern Irish context and future directions for his research.

You can listen to the podcast here: 

Further Reading:

Brennan, J. (2011) ‘The Right to a Competent Electorate’, The Philosophical Quarterly 61(245), pp. 700-724.

_____ (2012) The Ethics of Voting. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fishkin, J. S. (2009) When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCrudden, C. et al. (2016) ‘Why Northern Ireland’s Institutions Need Stability’, Government and Opposition 51(1), pp. 30-58.

McEvoy, J. and B. O’Leary (eds.) (2013) Power-Sharing in Deeply Divided Places. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Norris, P. (2011) Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

van Reybrouck, D. (2016) Against Elections: The Case for Democracy, trans. Liz Waters. London: Penguin Random House.

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