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Social Theory and Practice

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published on January 11, 2020

Joseph Mazor

The Case for Citizen Duty

This article defends a novel type of institutionalized mass deliberation: Citizen Duty. Citizen Duty would legally require every citizen to engage in one day of diverse, moderated political deliberation prior to major elections. This deliberation would realize a variety of benefits, including wiser electoral decisions and a more respectful electoral process, while avoiding the dangers of citizen deliberation. A comparison with jury duty and with non-deliberative alternatives suggests that Citizen Duty’s substantial economic and liberty costs are justified. Finally, an examination of citizen attitudes towards politics and deliberation suggests that Citizen Duty is not as quixotic as it first appears.

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