Models of Deliberative Democracy

Edited by Antonino Palumbo

Since its inception in the 1980s, the deliberative turn has over the years promoted several other small turnings, yielding a highly complex and disorienting theoretical spaghetti junction. Following the main deliberative turn, we can also count: an epistemic turn, and an empirical turn, a systemic turn and even a democratic turn. The end result of these twists and turns is a plurality of deliberative democratic models re-proposing many analytical features which used to characterise those of the past deliberative theorists wanted to replace. The deliberative turn has thus made the theoretical landscape extremely intricate and impervious, making even those acquainted with it likely to lose their way. The present volume aims to be a rough guide to deliberative democracy (DD) for those who are keen on exploring this uneven terrain on their own. Its goal is twofold: to single out some land marks to follow along the way and to indicate which dwelling stations to use in order to make the journey worthwhile. The volume starts by proposing a simple map that identifies four main models of DD. The aim of this epistemic map is not to reproduce the theoretical terrain accurately, but rather to improve its readability and help the reader find his/her way more easily. Accordingly, the volume will be divided into four parts collecting works epitomising these ideal types, giving the reader the flavour of the kinds of arguments and visions of DD supporting each of the four models identified. The volume brings together some landmark essays which can help orientate the reader. They are gathered together under four thematic headings. The first part contains a cluster of essays presenting the main features and arguments employed to justify attributing some epistemic value to DD. The section proposes a spectrum of sophisticated models tracing the upper and lower theoretical boundaries of such an approach. The second part offers a sample of works moving beyond the epistemic concerns of analytical philosophers and critical theorists alike and analyses ways in which DD could be pragmatically employed to boost the legitimacy and effectiveness of real existing democracies. This entails integrating participation and deliberation as well as electoral and descriptive forms of representation, tasks which are accomplished by employing random devises for selecting minipublics. The third part brings together works wishing to move beyond the model of representative democracy adopted by real existing democracies and realise more radical political visions. Their ultimate goal is to democratise liberal democratic institutions from the ground up either by introducing a more agonistic spirit, or by exploiting the technologies made available by the informational revolution. In the fourth part is to be found a representative sample of works discussing the influence the models of DD charted have had on new modes of governance. This collection of essays attempts to explain how deliberation is contributing (or better, can contribute) to the democratisation of policy making and policy implementation, fields which in the past were reserved to restricted professional groups having the right expertise.