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Dethroning Deliberation

A Response to Caspary

Jeff Jackson

view I do not think we should necessarily hold to nor do I think Dewey holds. I will conclude by clarifying that my argument does not claim that deliberation is to be forbidden so long as structural inequality exists but that deliberation does have

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Judith Squires

Feminist critiques of deliberative democracy have focused on the abstraction, impartiality and rationality of mainstream accounts of deliberation. This paper explores the claim, common to many of these critiques, that these features are problematic because they are gendered, and that a more women-friendly account of democracy would embrace corporeality, contextuality and the affective. While acknowledging the merit of such a claim, the paper nonetheless suggests that the pursuit of social justice and democratic inclusion actually leads many feminists to embrace a modified account of deliberative democracy, albeit in a modified account form. This can be explained by the dialogical conception of impartiality offered by theories of deliberative democracy. The paper suggests that the embrace of deliberative democracy by feminist theorists is a positive move, to be more widely acknowledged. Moreover, once acknowledged, feminists have much to offer deliberative democrats in terms of considering what the pursuit of dialogic impartiality might entail. If conceived as demanding both a 'lack of bias' and 'inclusivity', attention needs to be focused squarely on the issue of inclusion, and the institutional and material conditions for securing inclusion in deliberation.

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Giuseppe Ballacci

In the literature there are two well-established but opposite readings of Arendt: as an agonistic theorist and as a deliberative one. In between these two positions a smaller number of scholars have argued that in Arendt these two dimensions can to a large extent be reconciled. This paper follows this third path but tries to bring it one step further. In particular, it defends the idea that those scholars who have proposed this third reading of Arendt have fallen short of revealing the degree to which deliberation and agonism are, for her, interwoven. Through an original reading of Arendt’s views on judgment, persuasion, distinction and Eichmann’s banality, the paper clarifies why, for her, agonism and deliberation are not only compatible but actually mutually dependent. In other words, it clarifies why she believes that there can be no deliberation without agonism and no agonism without deliberation.

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Deliberative Democracy

Taking Stock and Looking Ahead - Selen A. Ercan with André Bächtiger

Selen A. Ercan and André Bächtiger

of democracy, such as deliberation or voting. Voting, for instance, is a very valuable democratic practice when it comes to collective decision-making, but it may be less valuable when it comes to collective will-formation (since it provides a low

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Daryl Glaser

value dimension. These values are: representation, directness, participation, equality, pluralism, and deliberation. Each of these value dimensions can be seen as capturing a meaning of democracy qua popular rule; the capacity of the ‘people’ to have

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Alison Kadlec

In this article I argue for a model of Deweyan 'critical pragmatism' as a therapeutic alternative to traditional models of deliberative democracy that have been crippled by their inheritance of the threadbare liberal/communitarian debate. By orienting my discussion here with respect to the most serious radical democratic challenges to deliberative democracy, I hope to show how Deweyan critical pragmatism may help us develop new approaches to the theory and practice of deliberation that are both more attuned to power relations than traditional models and make more inventive use of everyday life to pursue more meaningful deliberative opportunities for citizens.

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Participation without Deliberation

The Crisis of Venezuelan Democracy

Nicole Curato

The legacy of Hugo Chavez is contentious. Some lament the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy from one of Latin America's most stable political systems to a populist authoritarian regime. Others celebrate Chavez's participatory project of institutionalizing structures for community-driven development, redistributing oil wealth through welfare policies, and creating a political party closely linked to mass movements. This article provides an alternative assessment of Venezuela's democratic quality by drawing on deliberative democratic theory. I argue that Chavez's participatory project is incomplete because it fails to create structures for deliberative politics. Without these mechanisms, Venezuela remains vulnerable to crises brought about by “uncivil action,” such as military coups and violent protests, making deliberation an important component in averting crises in democratizing polities.

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Gerry Mackie

Cass Sunstein details intrinsic flaws in group discussion, even in ideal deliberation, and draws attention to prediction markets and information-aggregation devices on the internet as supplements to discussion. I respond that the supposed flaws do not affect ideal deliberation, and that the evaluation of group discussion is too pessimistic: there are alternative hypotheses to account for his findings, and there are doubts about their external validity. Also, I contend that his evaluation of prediction markets and internet devices is too optimistic. The markets have failed miserably, and the internet is vulnerable to astroturfing by the powerful and wealthy.

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Deliberation and Courts

The Role of the Judiciary in a Deliberative System

Donald Bello Hutt

democracy. Before the systemic approach was generally and explicitly endorsed by deliberativists, some scholars saw the courtroom as an ideal locus where the conditions of deliberation could be met. Present-day deliberative democratic theory does not

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Practitioner’s Note

MASS LBP and Long-Form Deliberation in Canada

Spencer McKay and Peter MacLeod

Deliberative forums, such as citizens’ assemblies or reference panels, are one institutionalization of deliberative democracy that has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. MASS LBP is a pioneer in designing and facilitating such long-form deliberative processes in Canada. This article provides an overview of the company’s civic lottery and reference panel process, notes several distinctive features of MASS LBP that are relevant to addressing challenges to democratic deliberation, and outlines possible areas for future research in deliberative democracy applied in both private and public settings.