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Jury Service as an Invitation to Citizenship: Assessing the Civic Value of Institutionalized Deliberation

36 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2006  

John Gastil

Pennsylvania State University

Phil Weiser

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: October 4, 2006

Abstract

When considering the merits of deliberative democracy, it is important to look to the experience of the American jury system. The jury has demonstrated the potential for citizen deliberation to play a central role in longstanding governmental institutions, but it has also played an unrecognized role in promoting civic engagement. Building on previous research demonstrating how jury service spurs increased electoral participation after jury service, we present results from a three-wave panel survey that show that a subjectively rewarding jury experience can spur broader civic engagement beyond voting. Given the value of the jury as both a model of deliberation and an engine of civic spirit, we consider the potential value of creating citizen juries to improve the initiative process, which currently lacks the citizen deliberation that is essential for any effective direct democratic processes.

Keywords: Jury Service, Deliberation, Initiatives and Referenda

JEL Classification: H70

Suggested Citation

Gastil, John and Weiser, Phil, Jury Service as an Invitation to Citizenship: Assessing the Civic Value of Institutionalized Deliberation (October 4, 2006). U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=934838 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.934838

John Gastil

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Phil Weiser (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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