Avoiding the Mischief of Factionalism

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:
Avoiding the Mischief of Factionalism

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This chapter defends associational democracy against one of its most famous criticisms, Madison’s ‘mischief of factionalism’. In doing this, it clearly distinguishes the deliberative and associational model of democracy from neo-pluralist and republican conceptions. The chapter suggests that a truly democratic conception of the common good can only be formed through deliberative democracy. However, it further distinguishes between the consensus and agonistic models of deliberative democracy. The chapter argues in favour of the agonistic model because a common good cannot always be presumed; because difference is an essential resource, so should not always be eliminated; and because a focus upon the common good can allow dominant social groups to disguise their particular arguments.

Keywords: associational democracy; deliberative democracy; common good; dominant social groups

Chapter.  8361 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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