The Discursive Turn

in Talking Together

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780226389868
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226389899 | DOI:
The Discursive Turn

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This book investigates public deliberation in practice, a form of citizen participation that defies one-sided conclusions. Its analysis is based on one of the first comprehensive studies of a critical component of democratic citizenship: the process of citizens talking, discussing, and deliberating with each other on public issues that affect the communities in which they live—from one-on-one conversations to e-mail exchanges to more formal meetings. The book refers to the diverse ways in which citizens talk about community issues as “discursive participation,” a form of political participation that differs from (though it interacts with) other forms of political participation that require action, such as voting. The organizational infrastructure, normative values, and practices of different forms of discursive participation generate collective resources and benefits, known as “discursive capital.” Democratic deliberationists spelled out five conditions under which public talk would invigorate citizens, restore the legitimacy of political decisions, and establish authentic democracy: universalism, inclusivity, rationality, agreement, and political efficacy.

Keywords: democracy; public deliberation; political participation; discursive participation; discursive capital; citizen participation; universalism; inclusivity; rationality; political efficacy

Chapter.  10683 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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