Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (2):255-277 (2006)

This article considers how reconciliation might be understood as a democratic undertaking. It does so by examining the implications of the debate between theorists of ‘deliberative’ and ‘agonistic’ democracy for the practice of democracy in divided societies. I argue that, in taking consensus as a regulative idea, deliberative democracy tends to conflate moral and political community thereby representing conflict as already communal. In contrast, an agonistic theory of democracy provides a critical perspective from which to discern what is at stake in the politics of reconciliation since it understands community as a contingent achievement of political action. As such, an agonistic account of democracy suggests the possibility of retrieving the concept of reconciliation from a statesanctioned project of nation-building for a democratic politics centred on the possibilities of self-determination and solidarity among citizens divided by a history of state violence. Key Words: agonism • deliberation • democracy • reconciliation • transitional justice.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453706061095
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Agonistic Critiques of Liberalism: Perfection and Emancipation.Thomas Fossen - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (4):376–394.

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