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Henk van der Kolk wins the “Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award” 2015

The book 'When Citizens Decide: Lessons from Citizen Assemblies on Electoral Reform' by the authors Patrick Fournier, Henk van der Kolk, R. Kenneth Carty, André Blais, and Jonathan Rose was awarded the Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award 2015. This is an annual prize from the Canadian Politics section of the APSA.

(from committee notes): When Citizens Decide is an impressive achievement on several fronts - data-gathering, insightful analysis, theoretical and practical contributions to the field. Surveys track the opinions of citizen assembly participants across three assemblies, in two countries. These data are used alongside broader public opinion polling to tell a story about how citizens assemblies work, both inside those assemblies, and in the 'public domain.’ The book makes important contributions to the study of democratic deliberation and civic engagement. And the conclusions are important - not just for academics, but for governments interested in citizens assemblies as well. ‘Average’ citizens are certainly able to make informed decisions about complex political issues. People can and do learn over the course of citizen assemblies. Subjecting the final decision from an informed assembly to a vote from a more ignorant electorate can be deeply problematic, however. We take this to be the deeply interesting storyline of the book. And we are thrilled to be able to award the book the Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award, which is intended to feature not just books about Canada, but books that are able to explore Canadian politics through a more comparative lens.

The Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award is given to honor a significant contemporary contribution to the scholarship on Canadian politics, or Canada in a comparative perspective, or a comparative analysis of Canada with other countries, particularly the United States.

Recent award recipients are list here:

More information about the book ‘When Citizens Decide’ can be found here: