Matters of Deliberative Democracy: Is Conversation the Soul of Democracy?


This study addresses the deliberative democracy from a critical perspective, highlighting the benefits of the deliberative turn. Among the deliberative democracy’s benefits the study includes: community-generating power, improving the accuracy of decisions, democratic legitimation of political power, democratic accountability, shaping policy by market-testing, informing public policy process. But beyond deliberative democracy advantages which are recognized by most scholars, it still remains the issue of the possibility of real-world deliberative democracy. The study presents a number of possibility conditions for deliberative democracy and several models of deliberation that can be extended (deliberative polls, citizens’ juries, national issues forums, referenda). We particularly discuss the deliberative democracy’s scale problem. The most important research questions in the present study are: How do we go from micro to macro-deliberation? Who is entitled to a say? What counts as good discourse and deliberation? How citizen deliberation can have consequences in democratic practice? The main idea is that deliberative democracy in practice implies a rethinking of politics and its feasibility is part of its desirability.

Keywords: deliberative democracy, democratic accountability, decision-making process, public opinion

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