New book on the CIR published

Posted by on January 22, 2020 in CIR reports and publications, Democratic innovation | 0 comments

Hope for Democracy coverAfter a decade of studying the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR), John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch have published a book on the process with Oxford University Press. Hope for democracy: How citizens can bring reason back into politics showcases the CIR and reveals how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics. We’re pleased to have received early endorsements from many folks, as shown below.


“The Citizens’ Initiative Review is at the cutting edge of innovation to make democracy more responsive, vital, and meaningful. Gastil and Knobloch provide an essential guide to this key development and its deliberative relatives, demonstrating that there is life in and hope for democracy amid its current woes. Read it and be inspired!” 

JOHN S. DRYZEK  Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Centenary Professor at the University of Canberra’s Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Hope for Democracy is a refreshing retort to the recent spate of books that declare the end of democracy. Through a compelling combination of personal stories and rigorous analysis, John Gastil and Katie Knobloch offer an important reminder of the democratic capacities and potential of everyday citizens. We have reasons to be hopeful.”

GRAHAM SMITH  Professor of Politics at the University of Westminster’s Centre for the Study of Democracy 


“During a period in which democratic institutions seem to be going through a crisis, democracy insists on reinventing itself through a number of innovations across the globe. One of the most important of these is the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR), which demonstrates how deliberative practices can be creatively embedded within existing institutions. This book offers a unique perspective on the journey that led to the creation of the CIR in Oregon–and the unsung heroes behind it. Inspiring and analytically sound, the insights in this book transcend geographic boundaries. Beyond scholars and practitioners, it is a must read for anyone interested in mechanisms that leverage the knowledge of citizens to shape decisions that affect their lives.”

TIAGO PEIXOTO Senior Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice 


“Gastil and Knobloch have crafted the definitive statement on the operation, rationale, and value of the Citizens Initiative Review–the most important deliberative democratic innovation in the U.S. in a very long time. Hope for Democracy does this and so much more. Part history, part public philosophy, part political critique, this beautifully written book balances the urgency and optimism we so sorely need today.”

MICHAEL NEBLO Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University and co-author of Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy


Hope for Democracy is an historically-informed, detail-rich exploration of how citizens reasoning together can address the challenges facing their communities. This heartening look at participatory decision making is an antidote to the cynicism that pervades our polarized times.”

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON  Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center and author of unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation


“Democratic innovations take concerted effort. This is the story of one such effort and we can all learn a lot from the determination, creativity, and resilience required to create a new institution and make it work.”

JAMES FISHKIN  Director of Stanford University’s Center for Deliberative Democracy and author of Democracy When the People are Thinking


“If you dare to imagine that American politics can get better, read this book. Gastil and Knobloch have helped to create and now study a new way to engage citizens in the democratic process. When I first observed the Citizens’ Initiative Review, I felt inspired. Reading this book will give you that same sense that people are ready to reclaim their proper role in  democracy.”

KATHERINE J. CRAMER  Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Politics of Resentment


“Across the globe, people are seeking to improve representative democracy. One of the most exciting innovations is the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. This book is the definitive story of how the Review came into being and why it works. Hope for Democracy is a must read for scholars, public officials, and civic campaigners who hope to revitalize democracy.”

DAVID FARRELL and JANE SUITER  Co-convenors of The Irish Citizens’ Assembly 


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