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Constitutional Referendums and Democratic Deliberation

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Abstract

Democratic theory has taken a deliberative turn. More and more theorists are turning away from liberal, pluralist, or economistic understandings of democracy and toward a view anchored in conceptions of accountability and discussion. Voting-centric democratic theory is being replaced by talk-centric democratic theory.1 The voting-centric view sees democracy as the arena in which fixed preferences and interests compete via fair mechanisms of aggregation. In contrast, deliberative democracy focuses on the communicative processes of opinion and will-formation that precede voting. Theorists of deliberative democracy are interested in how deliberation shapes preferences, moderates self-interest, mediates difference, produces reasonable opinion and policy, and potentially leads to consensus. While nineteenth- and early twentieth-century democratization was concerned with expanding the vote to include everybody, today democratization often focuses on expanding the public sphere to give everyone a say.2 Voice rather than votes is the new vehicle of empowerment.

Keywords

  • Public Sphere
  • Direct Democracy
  • Deliberative Democracy
  • Democratic Theory
  • Popular Sovereignty

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781403900968_12
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© 2001 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Chambers, S. (2001). Constitutional Referendums and Democratic Deliberation. In: Mendelsohn, M., Parkin, A. (eds) Referendum Democracy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403900968_12

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