The persistent lack of trust in politics and politicians in many well-established democracies has led to increased calls for new and meaningful ways for citizens to participate in democratic decision-making beyond elections. The Democratic Constitutional Design (DCD) research project DCD has launched a podcast dedicated to constitutional design, public participation in constitution-making, the Icelandic constitutional process of 2010-2013, and the ongoing effort to revise the Icelandic constitution. The DCD podcast interviews scholars and activists about a wide range of topics related to constitutions.
Constitutional change raises many interesting questions such as if the public should be consulted on constitutional change? And if so, then how? There is a wide range of opinions to this question. Some think that politicians should not be involved because they have vested interests in the outcome, while others think that constitutional revision should be done by politicians and experts. Most people seem to have views that fall somewhere in-between these two positions. Another set of questions concerns if and how the problems democracy is currently facing can be solved by changing the constitution and what such change entails
The podcast is aimed at people who are interested in democratic innovation and constitutions and is hosted by Jón Ólafsson and Sævar Finnbogason. In the first episodes, the podcast has featured David Farrell, the project leader for the Irish Citizen Assembly and Constitutional Convention in Ireland who talked about the merits of randomly selected assemblies in constitution-making; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor, constitutional scholar and activist who discussed the Icelandic constitutional efforts and his latest book, They Don’t Represent Us; as well as Robert Bjarnason, CEO of the Citizen Foundation about online crowdsourcing.
The DCD is also introducing a podcast in Icelandic, called Lýðræðisleg stjórnarskrárgerð. All the episodes of both podcasts are available on the project’s website, Spotify and other listening services.