E. Education; Philosophy of Deliberative Democracy > DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE (Collection Now in Print)

"Deliberative democracy in almost all of its forms requires a more active citizenry and one with crucial dispositions, aptitudes, and virtues. Deliberative democratic citizens must be disposed to seek agreement with other citizens, possess deliberative traits that facilitate this process, and adopt a questioning, potentially critical, attitude toward their own
conceptions of the good. Plainly, the development of the deliberative democratic personality requires an ambitious educational project. How does a full reckoning with the requirements of deliberative democracy change educational
theory and practice?" (7)

"The issue of deliberative engagement across deep differences leads straight to a second cross-cutting theme, to do with the characterization of the virtues necessary in a deliberative polity. If value pluralism is in fact at the heart of political disagreement, as some of the chapters in this volume assume, then the virtues of reflexivity, reciprocity, and “distanciation” with respect to one’s own values really are required. But these virtues may be less essential when conflict is viewed as a clash of political interests, as other chapters emphasize; indeed, where disputes are grounded in political conflict rather than value pluralism, the call to abstract from one’s conception of the good, or from individual and community interests, can seem like a pernicious move in a political game. What better way for a hegemonic group to entrench its power than by requiring that subaltern groups not pursue their interests or their conceptions of the good within deliberative settings? Other chapters, notably those of Fishkin and Richardson, suggest that institutional context is as important as subject matter in determining the traits of character that deliberators manifest or ought to manifest. Deliberation, after all, occurs notin the abstract but in concrete institutional contexts. These contexts orient deliberation by providing it with specific tasks; deliberation can aim for a binding decision or, much more modestly, it can aim to provide decision makers with (non-binding) input. These different tasks of deliberation affect the moral psychology of participants, the delineation of appropriate virtues,
and the mechanisms needed to inculcate these virtues" (13-14).
August 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell