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About this book

In spite of the global diffusion of democracy and a general commitment to democratic values, there is a widespread alienation from the political process in advanced democracies. Deliberative democracy has received much attention in recent years as a possible solution to this malaise. Its promise of a more engaged and collective form of politics has drawn the interest of policy makers and political philosophers – generating new avenues of thought in contemporary democratic theory as well as heated debates about its utility in practice.

This book provides an ideal starting point in understanding the core concepts of deliberative democracy. It is the first text to offer a systematic introduction to the theories and debates in the field and to combine this with a detailed critique of both the theory and the practice of deliberative democracy. It examines the core values of deliberative democrats and evaluates the implementation of deliberative practices at the local, national and global level – considering, along the way, how far it is possible to introduce meaningful deliberative reform in existing democracies. Giving readers a state-of-the-art account of the field, this book addresses fundamental questions about deliberative democracy and also charts the future directions for contemporary democratic thought.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Abstract
The word deliberation can conjure up many different images. It might remind us of the decisions of juries and judges, a lone individual weighing up which way he or she should act, learned discussion between scientists or heated debate amongst politicians. Yet over the last few decades another conception of deliberation has become prominent in political theory: that of democratic deliberation.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

2. Deliberation in Detail

Abstract
Now that we have a basic idea of what deliberative democracy is, it is time to unpack the concept in a bit more detail. What does it entail on the practical level? What purpose could it serve, where would it take place and who would participate? And what are the theoretical antecedents of the turn to deliberative democracy?
Zsuzsanna Chappell

3. Deliberation, Reason and Rationality

Abstract
In Chapter 1, I defined deliberative democracy as reasoned, other-regarding, equal and inclusive debate aimed at making collective decisions. In this chapter I will be concerned with the second half of this definition: the characteristics and benefits of other-regarding, reasoned deliberation.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

4. Equality and Inclusion

Abstract
Equality and inclusion are valuable for theories of democracy because they are necessary to ensure legitimacy. We have a stronger reason for accepting laws and policies, especially laws and policies that we disagree with, if we know that our interests have been treated equally with those of others (Christiano 1996, 2004) and if we believe that we were included in the decision-making process. Furthermore, being treated as equals and being given equal respect as human beings and moral agents is a fundamental tenet of liberalism.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

5. Deliberation and Decision Making

Abstract
Compared to other models of democracy, the theory of deliberative democracy places relatively little emphasis on the actual moment of decision making. However, all forms of democracy will have to deliver decisions in a timely and non-arbitrary manner. This chapter discusses how deliberative forms of democracy can do this.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

6. Implementing Deliberation

Abstract
The theory of deliberative democracy has clear practical applications and democratic theorists have actively promoted it as a way of reforming contemporary democratic practice. This chapter and the next will examine how the theories presented so far can be and have been implemented.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

7. Micro Deliberation in Practice

Abstract
We have come a long way in the preceding six chapters. We have looked at what deliberative democracy is and discovered that defining this concept is a challenge in itself. We have examined the normative foundations of democratic theory, procedural values such as equality and inclusion, and seen how these apply to deliberative models of democracy. We have considered what reasoned deliberation means and whether it will lead to better decisions than other forms of democracy. We have also looked at whether we should expect deliberation to produce consensual decisions and how the theory can accommodate voting and bargaining. Finally, in the last chapter we looked at macro deliberation in practice and at some of the preconditions of introducing more deliberative practices into current democracies, not least the important condition of getting citizens motivated to participate.
Zsuzsanna Chappell

8. Conclusion

Abstract
This final chapter draws together the debates analyzed in the book. It will address two key questions raised in earlier chapters. The first concerns the reasons for holding deliberative democracy to be valuable, while the second concerns the problems inherent in a democratic theory based primarily on deliberation.
Zsuzsanna Chappell
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