320 pages, no illustrations
How can we create a vital and inclusive pluralistic democracy? This book offers answers to this question by showing how democratic theory and democratic practice can be remade to face new challenges. Arguing against the skepticism about democracy that flourishes on both ends of the political spectrum, James Bohman proposes a model of public deliberation that will allow a renewed expansion of democratic practice, even in the face of increasing pluralism, inequality and social complexity. Bohman builds on early critical theory and on the work of Jurgen Habermas and John Rawls (while taking into consideration criticisms of their work) to create a picture of a democratic practice based on the public reasoning of citizens. Starting with a pragmatic account of how deliberation actually works to promote agreements and cooperation, he develops a model of deliberation by gradually introducing and analyzing the major tests facing deliberative democracy: cultural pluralism, social inequalities, social complexity and community-wide biases and ideologies. The result is his understanding of the ways in which public deliberation can be extended to meet the needs of modern societies.
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