My aim in this presentation is to offer some reflections concerning the
kind of public sphere that a vibrant democratic society requires. I want
to scrutinize the dominant discourse which announces the “end of the
adversarial model of politics” and the need to go beyond left and right
towards a consensual politics of the centre. The thesis that I want to
put forward is that, contrary to what its defenders argue, this type of
discourse has very negative consequences for democratic politics.
Indeed it has contributed to the weakening of the “democratic political
public sphere”, and it has led to the increasing dominance of juridical
and moral discourse, dominance which I take to be inimical to
democracy. I submit that the increasing moralization and juridification
of politics, far from being seen as progress, a further step in the development
of democracy, should be envisaged as a threat for its future.