Weber's Dilemma and a Dualist Model of Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Contemporary Political Theory 7 (2):169-199 (2008)

If deliberative democracy is to be more than a critique of current practice and achieve the normative goals ascribed to it, its norms must be approximated in practice and combine its two elements, popular deliberation with democratic decision-making. In combining these, we come across a Weberian dilemma between legitimacy and effectiveness. One of the most popular methods for institutionalizing deliberative democracy, which has been suggested, is citizen associations in civil society. However, there has been a lack of precise and detailed discussion about how such a system could link macro deliberations in public spheres with micro and formal decision-making arenas. This paper aims to amend this and offers a dualist model, which ensures that deliberation and decision-making are linked, and an effective balance between the Weberian dilemma is achieved, through the same secondary associations fulfilling both roles. The first part of this strategy focuses on the informal public sphere and its networks and their potential to foster deliberative communication between secondary associations and between these associations and the state that helps transform preferences and set the agenda for decision-making. The second part is mediating forums, organized by quangos, with devolved powers, where representatives from secondary associations assemble to make decisions based upon the norms of deliberative democracy. If deliberative democracy can be approximated in practice then it becomes a more persuasive theory as it means the normative goals attributed to it could actually be achieved, which is why the dualist method is significant
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DOI 10.1057/palgrave.cpt.2007.21
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Survey Article: The Coming of Age of Deliberative Democracy.J. Bohman - 1998 - Journal of Political Philosophy 6 (4):400–425.

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