From kleroterion to cryptology : The act of sortition in the 21st century, instruments and practices


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From kleroterion to cryptology : The act of sortition in the 21st century, instruments and practices
Title of the book
Sortition and Democracy
Courant Dimitri
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In Press
Lopez-Rabatel Lilane, Sintomer Yves
Sortition and Public Policy
In the 21st century, sortition has become increasingly prevalent in both political discourse and practices. Random selection is used to designate jurors and to break ties between electoral candidates. Sortition has also become an integral part of the democratic demands made by academics, experimenters and activists. But little attention has been paid to the concrete techniques and tools used in contemporary random selection procedures. Contributing to the ‘material history of democracy’, this chapter analyses the ‘act of sortition’ in the 20th and 21st centuries by looking at the wide variety of practices and instruments used by a veritable tapestry of actors in differing contexts. From coin-flipping or drawing the short straw, to retrieving ballots from an urn, or using digital software and quantum physics, from the kleroterion to modern cryptology, how does one draw lots today? And what significance do these practices embody? Our research shows that in the 21st century, manual tools for the act of sortition have persisted, despite the rise of computing and digitalisation. Depending on the field, phenomena of hybridisation or transition can be observed regarding sortition tools and practices. However, the birth of computing has coincided with the rise of the representative sample and opinion polls. This poses a challenge: in a democracy, can sortition be conducted by experts using proprietary black box software in a non-transparent manner, without jeopardising the public’s trust?
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29/05/2019 11:49
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21/08/2019 5:13
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