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Deliberative Theory and DeconstructionA Democratic Venture$
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Steven Gormley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474475280

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474475280.001.0001

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A More Expansive Conception of Deliberation

A More Expansive Conception of Deliberation

(p.62) 2 A More Expansive Conception of Deliberation
Deliberative Theory and Deconstruction

Steven Gormley

Edinburgh University Press

Critics of the deliberative approach argue that deliberative theory works with an overly restrictive understanding of argumentation that leads to the unjust exclusion of voices from public deliberation. Successive generations of deliberativists have developed two approaches in response. The first, supplementing approach, supplements rational argumentation with ‘other’ forms of communication to better accommodate difference. Drawing on the work of Iris Young, this strategy is shown to fail. The second, systemic approach, replaces the categorical criteria of the supplementing approach with systemic criteria. While this response significantly opens up deliberation, it sacrifices core deliberative ideals for perceived net benefits to the deliberative system. This can result in the violation citizens’ deliberative freedom and the political impoverishment of vulnerable actors. Drawing on Aristotle’s account of rhetoric, a third, constitutive approach, is suggested, an approach that opens up deliberation in a way that overcomes the problems with the supplementing approach, whilst avoiding some of the unwelcome consequences of the systemic approach. The chapter ends with an unexpected crossing of paths between Bohman and Derrida that points the way to a deconstructive entry into the debate.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Deliberative system, Democratic deliberation, Exclusion, Jacques Derrida, Iris Young, James Bohman, John Dryzek, Rational argumentation, Rhetoric

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