Chapter

The Uneasy Alliance of Group Representation and Deliberative Democracy

Melissa S. Williams

in Citizenship in Diverse Societies

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297703
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602948 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019829770X.003.0005
The Uneasy Alliance of Group Representation and Deliberative Democracy

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One of the central aims of deliberative theory is to redeem the ideal of impartiality by defining political processes in a manner that avoids bias against valid social interests. The first section of this chapter presents the broad outlines of theories of deliberative democracy and explores the place of the concept of impartiality within them. In the next section, the different kinds of contributions that marginalized group perspectives make to democratic deliberation are explored. Next, drawing on and extending the recent feminist critiques of deliberative democracy, two interrelated challenges to deliberative theory are examined: one focused on the standard of reasonableness and the idea of reason‐giving, and the other on the contingent social and political circumstances under which marginalized‐group perspectives may sway the judgement of other citizens. Finally, the implications of these changes for our more general notions of the virtues and responsibilities of citizenship are examined.

Keywords: citizenship; deliberative democracy; deliberative theory; group representation; impartiality; marginalized groups

Chapter.  13815 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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