Does Deliberation Really Lead to Better Democracy?

Academic

Source

Against Deliberation
Political Theory
Volume: 
25
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
347- 364

Summary:

The author cautions those who support the idea of deliberative democracy that it has potential shortfalls, particularly the way it may actually result in anti-democratic outcomes.

It highlights that deliberative democracy’s emphasis on using rationality and persuasion to generate consensus around decision-making is likely to favour certain groups.

In particular, those who are able to make their case strongly are likely to gain far more from deliberative democracy and its outcomes.

So, the author argues, rather than making democracy more accessible to more citizens, deliberative forms may end up entrenching existing unequal access to influencing politics and policy-making.

'[T]aking deliberation as a signal of democratic practice paradoxically works undemocratically, discrediting on seemingly democratic grounds the views of those who are less likely to present their arguments in ways that we recognize as characteristically deliberative,' the author argues.

'In our political culture, these citizens are likely to be those who are already underrepresented in formal political institutions and who are systematically materially disadvantaged'.
 

Author(s)
Lynn Sanders

University of Chicago

Countries/Regions
global
Published Date
June 1, 1997