A sequential analysis of democratic deliberation
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Recent developments in deliberative democratic theory have witnessed a renegotiation of classic deliberative principles to conceptualise the form deliberation could take under suboptimal speech situations. Application of deliberative virtues is negotiated, suggesting that different contexts warrant different deliberative expectations. Such approach presents a topical model of deliberation but it also raises concerns regarding the extent of these norms’ negotiability, whether there remain core deliberative virtues that cannot be compromised regardless of the context. This piece addresses this theoretical challenge by putting forward a sequential analysis of democratic deliberation. It draws on pragma-dialectics, an approach to the study of argumentation that examines how a ‘difference of opinion’ is handled in practice. It suggests that deliberative norms and discursive tactics have specialised functions at particular moments of exchange while retaining focus on components that make deliberation a distinct form of political practice.
Keywordsdeliberative democracy argumentation theory activism
I would like to thank John Dryzek, Andrew Knops and the anonymous reviewers for the constructive feedback on the earlier drafts of this paper.
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