Rowman and Littlefield International

From Participation to Deliberation

A Critical Genealogy of Deliberative Democracy

By Antonio Floridia

Starting from the 1980s, this book provides the first, complete history of the idea of deliberative democracy, analysing its relationship with the earlier idea, and practices, of participatory democracy in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hardback ISBN: 9781785522420 Release date: Mar 2017
£50.00 €70.00 $84.00

Pages: 412

ECPR Press

In 2006, Barack Obama wrote that the 'framework of our constitution' is designed 'to force us into a "deliberative democracy" in which all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality, persuading others of their point of view'. His statement is just one of the many examples of the contemporary relevance of deliberative democracy. But where does this model come from? When was it born and how did it develop? Starting from the 1980s, this book provides the first, complete history of the idea of deliberative democracy, analysing its relationship with the earlier idea, and practices, of participatory democracy in the 1960s and 1970s. The author provides a lucid and detailed analysis of the texts and authors that have contributed to this theoretical field and, in the final chapter, proposes a possible guiding map of today's complex deliberative field, in its present configuration.

Table of Contents

List of Figures xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1


DEMOCRACY IN THE 1960s AND 1970s 13

Chapter One – Participatory Democracy in the 1960s and 1970s:

The Origins of a Model 15

1.1 The background and the scene: participatory democracy in

political and theoretical debates in the United States in the 1960s 15

1.2 The critique of elitist theories of democracy and the meaning of

the pluralist approach 23

1.3 Participatory democracy as a new form of democracy:

Pateman and Macpherson 32

1.4 Levels and forms of participation: Sherry R. Arnstein’s ‘ladder’ 38

Chapter Two – Beyond Participatory Democracy: The Debate in the 1980s 43

2.1 Benjamin Barber: searching for a ‘strong democracy’ 43

2.2 Jane Mansbridge: ‘unitary democracy’ and ‘adversary democracy’ 50

2.3 Beyond participatory democracy: two different paths 58



Chapter Three – At the Origins of ‘Deliberative Democracy’:

Interpretations of the American Constitution 63

3.1 Joseph M. Bessette: the American Constitution as a blueprint of

deliberative democracy 63

3.2 Cass R. Sunstein: deliberative democracy and republicanism 70

Chapter Four – Jon Elster: ‘Non-Orthodox’ Versions of Rationality and

Models of Political Theory 79

4.1 The forum and the market 79

4.2 The ‘ideal speech situation’: a pragmatic presupposition of

communicative action or a political ideal? 83

4.3 The nature of politics and the aim of participation 93

Chapter Five – Bernard Manin: Public Deliberation and

Democratic Legitimacy 97

5.1 Rousseau, the ‘general will’ and the deliberation ‘of all’ 97

5.2 Debating with Rawls: deliberation, the original position and

‘rational choice’ 101

5.3 The ‘deliberation of all’ as a source of democratic legitimacy 106

5.4 Debating with Habermas: the public sphere, ‘consensus of all’ and

democratic deliberation 111

Chapter Six – Joshua Cohen: An ‘Ideal Deliberative Procedure’ 121

6.1 ‘Deliberative democracy’ as an ideal 121

6.2 The democratic ideal of a ‘deliberative association’ 127

6.3 From the ideal deliberative procedure to institutions 131

Chapter Seven – Intersections, Convergences and New Developments:

Expanding the Theoretical Field of Deliberative Democracy 139

7.1 John Forester: communicative interaction, policy analysis and

planning practices 139

7.2 John S. Dryzek’s ‘discursive democracy’ 146

7.3 James Fishkin: deliberative democracy and political theory 150

7.3.1 Fishkin and Dahl: minipopulus and ‘enlightened understanding’ 151

7.3.2 Fishkin, Ackerman and the ‘dualist conception’ of

democratic politics 162

Chapter Eight – The ‘Constitutive Phase’ of Deliberative Democracy:

An Assessment 171

8.1 The five ‘critical frontiers’ of deliberative democracy 171

8.2 ‘Participatory’ and ‘deliberative’: continuity, contiguity or break? 175



Chapter Nine – Habermas and ‘Deliberative Politics’ 185

9.1 Between Facts and Norms: a ‘defection’ from the field of

deliberative democracy? 185

9.2 A procedural conception of democracy and the tension between

‘facticity’ and ‘validity’ 188

9.3 Models and concepts of ‘deliberative politics’: constitutional

legitimacy and republicanism 190

9.4 Deliberative politics: ethical self-understanding or an ordinary

trait of a democracy? 198

9.5 Deliberative politics: pragmatic discourses, ethical discourses

and moral discourses 202

9.6 Habermas and the ‘democratic question’: against ‘normative defeatism’ 213

Table of Contents xi

Chapter Ten – Deliberative Politics: the State, the Public Sphere and

Civil Society 221

10.1 Habermas, the ‘two-track model’ and ‘sluices’ 221

10.2 Habermas versus Cohen: can deliberative politics ‘shape’ the

whole of society? 227

10.3 Cohen and Sabel’s ‘democratic experimentalism’: a model of

deliberative governance 233

10.4 Cohen versus Habermas: The ‘public sphere’ – informal or

structured? 240

Chapter Eleven – Rawls: The Idea of ‘Public Reason’ and Deliberative

Democracy 247

11.1 Introduction 247

11.2 The idea of public reason 249

11.3 Public reason and the dilemmas of ‘reasonable pluralism’ 254

11.4 Public reason as a deliberative paradigm 259

11.5 Public reason and deliberative democracy 267

11.6 The Rawlsian approach to deliberative democracy 275

Chapter Twelve – The Dialogue between Habermas and Rawls:

Just a ‘Family Quarrel’? 279

12.1 Introduction 279

12.2 ‘Original position’ and ‘ideal speech situation’ 281

12.3 ‘Reasonableness’ and ‘consensus’; ‘justification’ and ‘legitimation’:

the forms and ways of deliberative practice 284

12.3.1 Habermas versus Rawls 284

12.3.2 Rawls versus Habermas 287

12.3.3 Implications for deliberative democracy 292

12.4 Philosophers and citizens 297


Chapter Thirteen – The Deliberative Field: A Possible ‘Map’ 305

13.1 Introduction 305

13.2 A ‘working theory’ 307

13.3 The legacy of Habermas and Rawls … but not only 308

13.4 An ideal model or a theoretical model of democracy? 312

13.5 An ‘empirical’ or a ‘policy-oriented’ turn? 315

13.6 The ‘systemic approach’ to deliberative democracy 322

13.6.1 A ‘deliberative system’: definition and functions 322

13.6.2 Deliberation, participation and the forms of democratic politics 328

13.6.3 The link between participation, deliberation and conflict 330

xii From Participation to Deliberation

13.6.4 What makes a decision ‘good’ or ‘correct’? The epistemic

functions of deliberation 332

Conclusion: In Praise of Mediation 337

Bibliography 351

Index 383

Index of Names 393

Antonio Floridia graduated in Philosophy in Florence and has worked for a long time in an institute of economic and social research, dealing with public policy analysis, political sociology and electoral studies. Since 2005 he’s directed the Sector ‘Policies for Citizen Participation’ and the Electoral Observatory of Tuscany. He has had teaching assignments at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Florence; and is President of the Italian Society of Electoral Studies (2014-2017). He has published numerous essays and books in the field of policy analysis, electoral studies, participatory and deliberative democracy. Among his most recent publications, see the volume La democrazia deliberativa: teorie, processi e sistemi (Rome, 2012)

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