Language, Power, and Persuasion: Toward a Critique of Deliberative Democracy

Constellations 7 (3):408-429 (2000)
The past twenty years have witnessed the consolidation of deliberation as the normative basis of democratic theory. Although different versions of deliberative democracy vary in scope and degree of institutionalization, they share the assumption that the rational consensus engendered through discussion should serve as the normative guide for democratic politics. Although this tradition has roots in the birth of bourgeois liberal thought, it has received renewed attention due to Habermas’s reformulation on the basis of discourse ethics. In his middle period, Habermas had attempted to ground rationality in the structure of discourse itself, in the ideal preconditions of intersubjective communication.1 His more pragmatist heirs, however, jettison transcendental truth claims while maintaining that deliberation can enhance the legitimacy of consensual solutions to the moral dilemmas which divide citizens
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8675.00197
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Christian Rostbøll (2009). Dissent, Criticism, and Transformative Political Action in Deliberative Democracy. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 12 (1):19-36.
Clarissa Rile Hayward (2004). Doxa and Deliberation. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (1):1-24.

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