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Sortition & Constitution: Qualitative Sociology of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly

Fri, August 31, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Marriott, Yarmouth


This contribution will try to answer some of the questions arising from the study of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly in a broader political context; drawing from a long term qualitative field research composed of ethnographic direct observations throughout the whole process and semi-directive interviews with citizen members, facilitators, politicians and civil servants. 1) On the macro-level, is the Irish Citzens’ Assembly a step further in the “new wave” of democratic experimentation, and if so in which ways? Are we really facing a “turn” towards a greater institutionalization of mini-publics for constitutional matters? 2) On the meso-level, criticized before its deliberation even begun from both pro-life and pro-choice, what is the legitimacy of this Assembly, how can we assess its “representative claim”? 3) On the micro-level, how do the participants perceive the process and what is the effect of the deliberation on them, especially on their vision of democracy?