Citizen Forums Against Technocracy? The Challenge of Science to Democratic Decision-Making
Through a critical consideration of recent proposals urging the use of “citizen forums” or “mini-publics” on issues involving science, this article reflects on the challenge posed to democracy and democratic decision making by the intellectual authority of modern science. Though the danger of a descent into technocracy is real and pressing, arguably the most serious challenge to democracy today, these novel “deliberative democratic” institutions are unpromising as a corrective beyond the local level, and may actually exacerbate the problem. The article concludes with a consideration of alternatives.
The Alchemist, Mattheus van Helmont, 17th Century, courtesy Roy Eddleman, Science History Institute