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Book Launch

Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy

04/10 Wednesday | 6pm

The Future of Democracy Working Group at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join for a book talk on Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy (Cambridge, 2018) by Michael A. NebloKevin M. Esterling, and David M. J. Lazer, featuring Professors Neblo and Lazer in conversation with Beth Simone Noveck.

Many citizens in the United States and abroad fear that democratic institutions have become weak, and continue to weaken. Politics with the People develops the principles and practice of ‘directly representative democracy’ – a new way of connecting citizens and elected officials to improve representative government. Sitting members of Congress agreed to meet with groups of their constituents via online, deliberative town hall meetings to discuss some of the most important and controversial issues of the day. The results from these experiments reveal a model of how our democracy could work, where politicians consult with and inform citizens in substantive discussions, and where otherwise marginalized citizens participate and are empowered. Moving beyond our broken system of interest group politics and partisan bloodsport, directly representative reforms will help restore citizens’ faith in the institutions of democratic self-government, precisely at a time when those institutions themselves feel dysfunctional and endangered.


David M. J. Lazer is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University, and Co-Director, NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. Prior to coming to Northeastern University, he was on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School (1998-2009). His research has been published in such journals as ScienceProceedings of the National Academy of Science, and the American Political Science Review, and has received extensive coverage in the media, including the New York TimesNPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS Evening News. He is an author of two recent papers on misinformation in Science: “The Science of Fake News” and “Fake News on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.” He is lead author of the paper in Science in 2014 that critiqued Google Flu Trends, which has emerged as an important touchstone in the use of big data to understand human behavior. He is lead author on the 2009 Science paper on computational social science, which has been described as the manifesto for the emerging field. His work on algorithmic auditing and online personalization has received wide attention.

Michael A. Neblo is Associate Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) Philosophy and Public Policy at Ohio State University, where he directs the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA), and co-founded the Center for Ethics and Human Values. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago, and his B.A. from Northwestern University in philosophy and mathematical methods in the social sciences. His work as appeared in Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a wide range of journals in political science and other fields, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political SciencePolitical Analysis, the Journal of Political PhilosophyPublic Opinion QuarterlySocial Science and MedicineElection Law JournalPolitical Communication, and Social Networks. His first book, Deliberative Democracy Between Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2015), cuts across the deadlock between supporters of deliberative democracy and their empirical critics by focusing on the core goals of the larger deliberative political system. His recent grant from the Democracy Fund will support continuing research in cooperation with sitting members of Congress to develop best practices for constituent consultation.

Beth Simone Noveck directs the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer in 2018. Previously, Beth served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Obama. UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government.


This event is wheelchair accessible. For other accommodations, contact: ipk.info@nyu.edu.

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