The Jury as a Civic Schoolhouse

Albert W. Dzur

in Punishment, Participatory Democracy, and the Jury

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199874095
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980024 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy

The Jury as a Civic Schoolhouse

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This chapter builds upon Tocqueville and Mill’s insights about rational disorganization and how democratic inclusion within institutions rather than exclusion leads to more moderate policy. Both saw the jury as a civic schoolhouse, a powerful example of how widespread lay participation within a government institution can socialize mass publics and temper majority power by requiring attention to others and responsibility for collective choice. Part of the court, the jury places lay citizens into a legal domain in which they are indirectly influenced by professionals whom they grow to trust. Having the jury serve real, albeit guided, duties permits judges to have a transparent, collaborative relationship with lay citizens, and thus increases the legitimacy of judges, courts, and the legal system. In partial, but critically important contrast to Tocqueville and Mill, nineteenth-century American proponents of the civic schoolhouse model such as Livingston and Lieber posit a more thoroughly democratic account of how juries socialize and create legitimacy. For them, the jury allowed the distinct qualities and capabilities of lay citizens to be integrated on as equal a basis as possible into legal decision making, with jurors and judges learning from each other.

Keywords: jury; legitimacy; Lieber; Livingston; majority power; mass public; Mill; professionals; socialization; Tocqueville

Chapter.  8833 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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