Lecture by Honorary Doctor 2020 Jane Mansbridge - The Future of Democracy - April 02, 2020

About the lecture

As climate change advances and nations become more interdependent internally and externally, they will need more solidarity, more mutual sense of duty, and more state coercion to handle the collective action – or “free-rider” – problems that will emerge. The increasing state coercion they will need should be as minimal as possible, designed as much as possible so that external incentives do not drive out internal ones, and as legitimate as possible. Yet as the need for legitimate coercion is increasing, the legitimacy on which states can call is decreasing. Responding to this crisis requires innovation in many fields. Not only our practices but also our ideals of representation need updating from their roots in the 18th century. The aspirational ideal of “recursive” representation, for example, responds to citizens’ desires to be heard and recognized. The practice of electoral representation needs supplementing with representation through sortition - or “civic lottery”. States and democratic theorists must recognize the importance of lawmaking in the administrative and societal realms, and plan for the involvement of ordinary citizens – not just major stakeholders – in these realms. Corruption needs to be approached with greater attention to its equilibrium quality, its context dependence, its deep relationship to interpersonal norms and, accordingly, its susceptibility to humor and other unorthodox modes of norm change. Populist regimes are responding to weaknesses in democratic structure and even in democratic ideals. The future of democracy demands serious attention to those weaknesses.

About the speaker

Jane Mansbridge, Charles F. Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, is the author of Beyond Adversary Democracy, an empirical and normative study of face-to-face democracy, and the award-winning Why We Lost the ERA, a study of anti-deliberative dynamics in social movements based on organizing for an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She is also editor or coeditor of the volumes Beyond Self-Interest, Feminism, Oppositional Consciousness, Deliberative Systems, and Negotiating Agreement in Politics. She was President of the American Political Science Association in 2012-13.  Her current work includes studies of representation, democratic deliberation, everyday activism, and the public understanding of free-rider problems. 

On the 2nd of April, 2020, prof. Mansbridge will receive an honorary degree by the University of Antwerp - and that occasion offers us a master class to which you are all cordially invited. 


Practical information

When? Thursday the 2nd of April 2020, 1PM - 2PM

Where? Stadscampus, aula C.003

Participation is free, but online registration is mandatory.