Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism

Mouffe, Chantal (December 2000) Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism. IHS Political Science Series 72

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Abstract: This article examines the current debate about the nature of democracy and discusses the main theses of the approach called 'deliberative democracy' in its two main versions, the one put forward by John Rawls, and the other one put forwardby Jürgen Habermas. While agreeing with them as regards to the need to develop a more of democracy than the one offered by the 'aggregative' model, I submit that they do not provide an adequate understanding of the main task of democracy. No doubt, by stating that democracy cannot be reduced to a question of procedures to mediate among conflicting interests, deliberative democrats defend a conception of democracy that presents a richer conception of politics. But, albeit in a different way thanthe view they criticize, their vision is also a rationalist one which leaves aside the crucial role played by 'passions' and collective forms of identifications in the field of politics. Moreover, in their attempt to reconcile the liberal tradition with the democratic one, deliberative democrats tend to erase the tension that exist between liberalism and democracy and they are therefore unable to come to terms with the conflictual nature of democratic politics. The main thesis that I put forward in this article is that democratic theory needs to acknowledge the ineradicability of antagonism and the impossibility of achieving a fully inclusive rational consensus. I argue that a model of democracy in terms of 'agonistic pluralism' can help us to better envisage the main challenge facing democratic politics today: how to create democratic forms of identifications that will contribute to mobilize passions towards democratic designs.;

Item Type: IHS Series
Keywords: 'Demokratietheorie' 'Deliberative Demokratie' ''Agnostic pluralism'' 'Democratic Theory' 'Deliberative democracy'
Status: Published
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 10:37
Last Modified: 14 May 2016 21:32
URI: http://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/1312

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