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Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy$
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Stephen Elstub

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627394

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627394.001.0001

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Deliberative Democracy and Autonomous Decision-Making

Deliberative Democracy and Autonomous Decision-Making

(p.58) 2 Deliberative Democracy and Autonomous Decision-Making
Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Stephen Elstub

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that the model of deliberative democracy is the best decision making method to cultivate the autonomy of all participants equally. Deliberative democracy can increase autonomy through compromise, which leads to decisions that all accept, and which respects the agency of all. It cultivates both hearer and speaker autonomy by increasing the availability of relevant information, allowing participants to express themselves freely and ensuring that the range of options on which they can vote reflects people’s rationally transformed references. The chapter considers three challenges to these justifications for deliberative democracy: the social-choice critique that a popular will cannot be identified; a challenge from difference democracy that deliberative democracy is inevitably biased against historically disadvantaged groups; and that deliberative democracy requires special obligations among citizens which it cannot itself ground.

Keywords:   deliberative democracy, hearer autonomy, speaker autonomy, difference democracy

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