(Re)presentation : pTA, citizens juries and the jury trial

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In this contribution we argue that juries make sense. By this we mean that it makes sense to introduce or sustain lay participation in judicial decision making, and that this is the case because juries in fact make sense because they generate new common sense concerning the case at hand. Referring to the deficits of contemporary democratic politics, we explore John Dewey's theory of democracy, which centres on the construction of concerned publics. A recent example of such publics under construction are the citizens' juries that are involved in participatory Technology Assessment (pTA). Our claim is that both trial juries and pTA citizens' juries can be understood as democratic practices that cannot be explained with reference to traditional aggregative or deliberative models of democratic theory. We discuss Chantal Mouffe's agonistic theory of democracy and Rip's agonistic learning processes to advocate the importance of collective decision-making processes, which form the core of jury deliberation. To produce robust outcomes, the principles that constitute the procedure of the fair trial are advocated as constraints that generate sound consensus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-40
Number of pages17
JournalUtrecht Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Jury
  • Lay participation
  • contradictory procedure


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