Today, deliberative democracy is the most widely discussed theory of democracy. Its proponents stress the importance of public reasoning about important matters of law and public policy: in the ideal case, decisions turn not on the force of numbers but the force of the better argument. However, despite its contemporary prominence, deliberative democracy continues to strike some as little more than wishful thinking.
In this new book, Ian O’Flynn examines the nature of deliberative democracy, considers the critiques of and debates surrounding the concept, and evaluates how it has developed over recent decades. Grappling with the familiar charge that ordinary people lack the motivation and capacity for meaningful deliberation, O’Flynn considers the example of deliberative polls and citizens’ assemblies and critically assesses how such forums can fit within a broader democratic system. He then considers the implications of deliberative democracy for multicultural and multi-ethnic societies before turning to the prospects for the most ambitious deliberative project of all: global deliberative democracy.
This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of democratic theory, as well as anyone who is curious about the prospects for more rational decision-making in an age of populist passion.