Institutionalising Deliberative Democracy through Secondary Associations

Stephen Elstub

in Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780748627394
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652716 | DOI:
Institutionalising Deliberative Democracy through Secondary Associations

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This chapter tries to expand upon, and provide greater detail of, the already-existing literature that connects the ideal of deliberative democracy with secondary associations. It suggests that it is features of social complexity, such as increased social pluralism, scale, inequality of deliberative and political skills and resources, the increasing reliance on specialists and globalisation, which present significant barriers to deliberative democracy being meaningfully institutionalised. The claim here is that, in an associational democracy, secondary associations would help overcome many of these barriers. Associations can aid in the cultivation of autonomy, assist in the institutionalisation of deliberative democracy and enable the state to be legitimate and effective. They do this by providing venues for decentralised governance, and by providing information and representation, which in turn creates informal public spheres that are based on public deliberation, are relatively voluntary and therefore provide choice over the source of representation and service delivery.

Keywords: deliberative democracy; social pluralism; globalisation; associational democracy; autonomy cultivation; decentralised governance

Chapter.  16266 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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