Res Publica

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 127–143 | Cite as

Reconciling Historical Injustices: Deliberative Democracy and the Politics of Reconciliation

Article

Abstract

Deliberative democracy is often celebrated and endorsed because of its promise to include, empower, and emancipate otherwise oppressed and excluded social groups through securing their voice and granting them impact in reasoned public deliberation. This article explores the ability of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy to accommodate the demands of historically excluded social groups in democratic plural societies. It argues that the inclusive, transformative, and empowering potential of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy falters when confronted with particular types of historical injustices. It falters because it pays little attention to the historical dimension of injustices and the demands to which it gives rise. The historical dimension of longstanding injustices, it is argued, gives rise to a set of distinctive demands, such as collective memory of exclusion, acknowledgement of historical injustices, taking responsibility, and offering apology and reparations for causing these injustices, which go beyond the type of democratic inclusion that is often offered by deliberative democracy. Yet, the solution is not to abandon the model of deliberative democracy. Quite the contrary, it remains a valuable basis for forward-looking political decision making. The article concludes that in order to achieve inclusive, empowering and transformative deliberation in consolidated democracies that have experienced historical injustices, the politics of reconciliation is indispensable.

Keywords

The politics of reconciliation Deliberative democracy Historical injustice Memory Apology 

References

  1. Balfour, Lawrie. 2005. Reparations after identity politics. Political Theory 33: 786–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bashir, Bashir. 2008. Accommodating historically oppressed social groups: Deliberative democracy and the politics of reconciliation. In The politics of reconciliation in multicultural societies, eds. Will Kymlicka, and Bashir Bashir, 48–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bashir, Bashir, and Will Kymlicka. 2008. Introduction: Struggles for inclusion and reconciliation in modern democracies. In The politics of reconciliation in multicultural societies, eds. Will Kymlicka, and Bashir Bashir, 1–24. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barber, Benjamin. 1984. Strong democracy: Participatory politics for a new age. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Benhabib, Seyla. 1994. Deliberative rationality and models of democratic legitimacy. Constellations 1: 26–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bohman, James. 1996. Public deliberation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bohman, James. 1998. The coming age of deliberative democracy. The Journal of Political Philosophy 6: 400–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christodoulidis, Emilios. 2000. ‘Truth and reconciliation’ as risks. Social and Legal Studies 9: 179–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, Joshua. 1989. Deliberation and democratic legitimacy. In The good polity: Normative analysis of the state, eds. Alan Hamlin, and Philip Pettit, 17–34. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Connolly, William. 1991. Identity/difference: Democratic negotiations of political paradox. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cooke, Maeve. 1997. Authenticity and autonomy: Taylor, Habermas, and the politics of recognition. Political Theory 25: 258–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Greiff, Pablo. 2006. Justice and reparations. In The handbook of reparations, ed. Pablo De Greiff, 451–477. Oxford: Oxford University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dryzek, John. 2000. Deliberative democracy and beyond: Liberals, critics, contestations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dryzek, John. 2005. Deliberative democracy in divided societies: Alternatives to agonism and analgesia. Political Theory 33: 218–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dwyer, Susan. 1999. Reconciliation for realists. Ethics & International Affairs 13: 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Feagin, Joe R., and Eileen O’Brien. 1999. Long-overdue reparations for African Americans: Necessary for societal survival? In When sorry isn’t enough: The controversy over apologies and reparations for human rights, ed. Roy L. Brooks, 417–421. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fish, Stanley. 1999. Mutual respect as a device of exclusion. In Deliberative politics: Essays on democracy and disagreement, ed. Stephen Macedo, 88–102. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fishkin, James. 1995. The voice of the people. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fraser, Nancy. 1992. Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. In Habermas and the public sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun, 109–142. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gutmann, Amy, and Dennis Thompson. 1996. Democracy and disagreement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gutmann, Amy, and Dennis Thompson. 2000. The moral foundations of truth commissions. In Truth vs. justice: The morality of truth commissions, eds. Robert I. Rotberg, and Dennis Thompson, 22–44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Habermas, Jurgen. 1976. Communication and the evolution of society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  23. Habermas, Jurgen. 1984. The theory of communicative action, vol. 1. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  24. Habermas, Jurgen. 1987a. The theory of communicative action, vol. 2. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  25. Habermas, Jurgen. 1987b. The philosophical discourse of modernity: Twelve lectures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Habermas, Jurgen. 1990. Moral consciousness and communicative action. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Habermas, Jurgen. 1992. Postmetaphysical thinking: Philosophical essays. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  28. Habermas, Jurgen. 1993. Struggles for recognition in constitutional states. European Journal of Philosophy 1: 128–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Habermas, Jurgen. 1994. Three normative models of democracy. Constellations 1: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Habermas, Jurgen. 1995. Reconciliation through the public use of reason. The Journal of Philosophy 92: 109–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Habermas, Jurgen. 1996. Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  32. Habermas, Jurgen. 2001a. On the pragmatics of social interaction: Preliminary studies in the theory of communicative action. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Habermas, Jurgen. 2001b. Constitutional democracy: A paradoxical union of contradictory principles? Political Theory 29: 766–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hendrix, Burke A. 2005. Memory in native American land claims. Political Theory 33: 763–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Honneth, Axel. 1995. The fragmented world of the social. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  36. Ivison, Duncan. 2010. Deliberative democracy and the politics of reconciliation. In Deliberative democracy in practice, ed. David Kahane, et al., 115–137. Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  37. Kiss, Elizabeth. 2000. Moral ambitions within and beyond political constraints. In Truth vs. justice: The morality of truth commissions, eds. Robert I. Rotberg, and Dennis Thompson, 68–98. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Knops, Andrew. 2006. Delivering deliberation’s emancipatory potential. Political Theory 34: 594–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kymlicka, Will. 1995. Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mahoney, J. 1999. Axel Honneth’s ethical theory of recognition. International Studies in Philosophy 31: 97–110.Google Scholar
  41. Mansbridge, Jane. 1996. Using power/fighting power: The polity. In Democracy and difference: Contesting the boundaries of the political, ed. Seyla Benhabib, 46–66. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  42. McCarthy, Thomas. 2002. Vergangenheitsbewältigung in the USA: On the politics of memory of slavery. Political Theory 30: 623–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McCarthy, Thomas. 2004. Coming to terms with our past, part II: On the morality and politics of reparations for slavery. Political Theory 32: 750–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Miller, Jon, and Rahul Kumar (eds.). 2007. Reparations: Interdisciplinary inquiries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Minow, Martha. 1998. Between vengeance and forgiveness: Facing history after genocide and mass violence. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  46. Moon, Claire. 2008. Narrating political reconciliation. Maryland: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  47. Mouffe, Chantal. 2000. The democratic paradox. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  48. Muldoon, Paul. 2003. Reconciliation and political legitimacy: The old Australia and the new South Africa. Australian Journal of Politics and History 49: 182–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nobles, Melissa. 2008. The politics of official apologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rawls, John. 1993. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Rawls, John. 1997. The idea of public reason revisited. The University of Chicago Law Review 64: 765–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sanders, Lynn. 1997. Against deliberation. Political Theory 25: 347–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schaap, Andrew. 2001. Guilty subjects and political responsibility: Arendt, Jaspers and the resonance of the ‘German question’ in politics of reconciliation. Political Studies 49: 749–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schaap, Andrew. 2005. Political reconciliation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Schaap, Andrew. 2006. Agonism in divided societies. Philosophy & Social Criticism 32: 255–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schaap, Andrew. 2008. Reconciliation as ideology and politics. Constellations 15: 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Short, Damien. 2008. Reconciliation and colonial power. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  58. Smits, Katherine. 2008. Deliberation and past injustices: Recognition and the reasonableness of apology in the Australian case. Constellations 15: 236–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taylor, Charles. 1994. The politics of recognition. In Multiculturalism: Examining the politics of recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann, 25–73. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Thompson, Joanna. 2002. Taking responsibility for the past: Reparation and historical injustice. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  61. Verdeja, Ernesto. 2009. Unchopping a tree: Reconciliation in the aftermath of political violence. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Walzer, Michael. 1999. Deliberation, and what else?’ In Deliberative politics: Essays on democracy and disagreement, ed. Stephen Macedo, 58–69. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Yamamoto, Eric, and Susan K. Serrano. 1999. Healing racial wounds? The final report of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission. In When sorry isn’t enough: The controversy over apologies and reparations for human rights, ed. Roy L. Brooks, 492–500. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Young, Iris. 1990. Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Young, Iris. 1996. Communication and the other: Beyond deliberative democracy. In Democracy and difference: Contesting the boundaries of the political, ed. Seyla Benhabib, 120–135. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Young, Iris. 2000. Inclusion and democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of Political ScienceHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations