Skip to main content

Evoke BC?

Evoke? Evoke what exactly?

Good question. Evoke BC is a group of people dedicated to sharing and exploring new
practices, approaches, and institutions for democratic decision making.

What does that mean? Think of people working together on a board or committee to run a farmer's market. Think of citizen assemblies. Think of community forums or participatory budgeting. Think of a group of neighbours organizing a block party.

Community governance. Community decision-making. Empowered political citizens from all walks of life. Collaborative governance.

Currently, our democratic institutions are centred around: 1) voting, 2) elected representatives. But democracy can happen in so many different ways. The Evoke research effort is focused on exploring and sharing different and alternative democratic practices that can deepen our civic engagement, and improve community decision-making.

Think Peace of Westphalia, Magna Carta, United Nations, colonialism...all of which shaped our communities, and how they are organized, in big ways. What's next? What's the next big shift in how we make decisions about our communities?


Popular posts from this blog

Including rational thought in decision-making: novel idea?

The post last week brought up the idea that we need to think about what concepts and ideas are put forward in the public realm. From pop music to sports to local community events, our approach to decision-making is influenced by commonly understood cultural practices. Meaningful democratic decision-making requires that we think about the practices, ideas, and values that percolate throughout society. More specifically, when it comes to engaging a group of people to get together and go through a democratic decision-making process, practitioners need to think about how participants are being, or have been, educated. By definition, democratic decision-making is not limited to specialists. "Rule by the people" means everyone gets to participate in decision-making, even about issues where we are not experts. This does not mean, however, that democratic decision-making should be approached from a place of ignorance.  Robert Dahl  emphasized the importance of  enlight

Why democracy doesn't mean you get your way - Part 2

If you do an online search of the word "democracy", you'll come across references to things like 'majority decision-making' or 'control by a majority'. Majority decision-making, and voting, are often assumed to be key features of a democracy. However: neither voting, nor control by a majority, are necessary for democratic decision-making. This may come as a shock, but there are ways for groups of people to make decisions that do not involve voting. Voting leaves very little room for nuance, for the exploration of alternatives, or for compromise between disparate perspectives. Majority decision-making, for its part, can lead to a tyranny of the majority, the oppression of minority perspectives, the polarization of opinions, and, by definition, a portion of participants whose preferences are ignored. So what's the alternative? If you're part of a group that is empowered to make a decision on some issue (a board, community group, committ

The Problem with Voting

Voting at the polls is a cornerstone of democracy today. When we think about, and understand, democratic participation, we imagine casting some kind of vote for some kind of person or issue in some kind of election. Unfortunately, a focus on voting narrows the possibilities for democratic participation, which is really all about shared decision-making . Don't get me wrong, voting is important. It took us about 2500 years to set up voting as an actual mechanism to make decisions, and even now it's certainly not a widespread practice. The right to vote is a contested aspiration in many corners of the world, and we should support the right of each and every person to an equal voice in community decision making. However, an exclusive focus on voting carries a significant risk. The concept of democracy is an aspiration; an aspiration to share decision-making, and to enable each other, as equals, to participate in decision-making. Decision-making cannot always be achieved with