The Jury and Democracy

The Jury and Democracy : How Jury Deliberation Promotes Civic Engagement and Political Participation

2.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and the U.S. Supreme Court have all alleged that jury service promotes democratic civic attitudes and political engagement. The Jury and Democracy is the first book to link jury service and political engagement, demonstrating how this institutionalized form of deliberation can contribute to democratic society not only in the United States but also in the many other countries using or experimenting with juries. The authors look at court and voting records for over thirteen thousand empanelled jurors from across the United States and draw from interviews with thousands more jurors to show that serving on a jury can trigger changes in how citizens view themselves, their peers, and their government. In fact, the study shows that this experience can significantly increase electoral turnout among infrequent voters. Partly as a result of these changing attitudes, jury service also sparks long-term shifts in media use, political action, and community group involvement. The original findings presented in this research advance modern theories of democracy, deliberation, and the law.
Whereas Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone brought attention to informal social networks and voluntary associations, The Jury and Democracy demonstrates the importance of institutionalized, state-sponsored deliberative opportunities for citizens to meet and make legally-binding decisions. Legal debates over the proper use of the jury system have failed to account for the hidden civic costs of circumscribing jury service opportunities. The Jury and Democracy suggests how the jury's power might influence newer, deliberative visions of democracy and promote the transition to democracy in more autocratic societies.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0195377311
  • 9780195377316
  • 1,397,637

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Review quote

Written in engaging prose without sacrificing analytical rigor, this book is a must-read for scholars and students of the American jury system, as well as anyone interested in the effect that citizen participation in government institutions has on the strength of a democratic society. * Harvard Law Review *
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About Cindy Simmons

Gastil Professor of Communication and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, University of Washington; Deess Director of Institutional Research, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Weiser Professor of Law, University of Colorado; Simmons Lecturer in Communication, University of Washington (J.D. and former UPI political reporter)
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