The Elite Character of Deliberation: A Problem for Radical Democracy?

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Abstract: Deliberative democracy falls into two broad schools, one that would see deliberation as an improvement to representative, pluralist, “polyarchy” and one that seeks to adapt deliberation to a more radical participatory model of democracy. We argue that deliberation of all kinds has an elite character and that this has particular ramifications for its potential role in more radical forms of democracy. Elitism is a theoretical anathema to participatory democracy theorists on the left and, more recently, “elite” has been a common term of abuse applied by right wing populists. Following an investigation of Dryzek and Niemeyer’s proposals for deliberation between discourses we advance a theoretical framework for a more democratic account of deliberation through dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2012
EventMidwest Political Science Association (MPSA) National Conference - Chicago Illinois, United States
Duration: 2 Apr 20126 Apr 2012


ConferenceMidwest Political Science Association (MPSA) National Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago Illinois


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