Deliberative democracy and constitutions: James S. Fishkin

Social Philosophy and Policy 28 (1):242-260 (2011)

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This paper examines the potential role of deliberative democracy in constitutional processes of higher law-making, either for the founding of constitutions or for constitutional change. It defines deliberative democracy as the combination of political equality and deliberation and situates this form of democracy in contrast to a range of alternatives. It then considers two contrasting processes—elite deliberation and plebiscitary mass democracy as approaches to higher law-making that employ deliberation without political equality or political equality without deliberation. It finally turns to some institutional designs that might achieve both fundamental values at the same time, or in the process of realizing a sequence of choices.
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052510000129
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