Friday, February 27, 2015

Deliberative Democracy-- Is It Really Democracy?

In the PC Handbook, Chapters 17 and 18, the concept of deliberative democracy is introduced as a subset of participatory democracy. In short, its goal is to have debates related to political decisions in order to sway certain citizens toward a common goal. Although the "people" are involved in this (they participate in and observe the debates), this form of democracy seems problematic. The way I see it, a group of political elites will try to persuade the public to side with their opinion-- so that the opinion of the "people" ends up being a reflection of the opinion of the elites. Do you agree or disagree? Are they any other problems you can see arising with the onset of deliberative democracy?

1 comment:

  1. Josh, I think I’d have to say that I agree with you – and I think Fuchs would as well. The power, in this case, seems to again rest with the political elite, and if the people have no real power here (instead, they are simply being persuaded), then it does not seem all so participatory to me. I would also question whether this form of democracy is truly participatory in a realistic sense – for example, if a student comes to class but does not really do anything besides agree or disagree with opinions already presented, has he or she really participated? I think most of us would say no, and I see that as a parallel to this – if the majority of people are simply choosing a side of the debate without having much more input, I don’t see it as being participatory. I also see an issue with corruption – if anyone watches House of Cards, they’ll remember a number of times where votes were “bought” in some way or another – and I would wonder if, in a deliberative democracy, corruption would not abound in the form of promises or money to win over the majority.


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