ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Participatory Democracy and Deliberative Democracy: Elements for a Possible Theoretical Genealogy. Different Histories With Some Points of Intersection

Democracy
Political Participation
Political Theory
Antonio Floridia
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali, Università di Firenze
Antonio Floridia
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali, Università di Firenze
Download Full Paper

Abstract

The paper contributes to the critical and historical reconstruction of two different paradigms of democracy. First, it analyses the origins and some theoretical features of participatory democracy, as it was developed by some authors in the sixties and seventies, in particular, Carole Pateman and C. B. MacPherson. Then, it discusses the evolution these models have undergone, especially as treated by Benjamin Barber and Jane Mansbridge, also because of the failures and crisis of participatory practices. While the stature of these experiments and the related theoretical model was waning, another thread of history began. Debates centred on the interpretation of American democracy and the Constitution saw the term “deliberative democracy” come into use by some scholars. Usually, the first use of this expression is attributed to an essay written by Joseph Bessette (1980), but the earliest influential use of the term should be credited to Cass Sunstein, a famous scholar of the American Constitution, in one of his essays (1985). In the same time period, two of the most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, Jurgen Habermas and John Rawls, proposed some crucial features of their reflection which offer essential conceptual tools to develop a new theoretical framework around the idea, or the regulative ideal, of a “deliberative democracy”. Their suggestions were taken up by some authors who wrote some of the first important contributions to deliberative theory (Elster, 1986; Manin, 1987; Cohen, 1989). Thus, participatory and deliberative democracy run on two separate tracks, that only in some respects and in more recent times intersect. In conclusion, the paper analyses the current debates about different visions of the roles that participation and/or public deliberation may play to improve the quality of democracy and counteract the legitimacy crisis that wracks contemporary democracies today.