Deliberative Democracy in Different Places

  • John S. Dryzek


According to standard and long-established ways of political thinking in the West, democracy was first and foremost an attribute of the state because the state claims final political authority over the citizens of a particular territory. The legitimacy of the democratic state, then, rests on popular control combined with political equality among all citizens. Popular control is normally conceptualized in aggregative terms: the preferences of citizens for leaders, parties, or policies must somehow be aggregated in order to produce collective decisions about who should lead and what they should do. Aggregation generally takes the form of the counting of votes in elections, when this conception of democracy becomes representative democracy. Political equality, then, means that the votes of citizens are counted equally. This conception of democracy becomes liberal democracy when it is linked to a set of rights possessed by each citizen. These rights concern, most importantly, freedom of opinion, expression and association, and protection against the arbitrary power of government.


Social Movement Public Sphere Consensus Conference Deliberative Democracy Ordinary Citizen 
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Copyright information

© Ethan J. Leib and Baogang He 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John S. Dryzek

There are no affiliations available

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