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Deliberative Systems
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'Deliberative democracy' is often dismissed as a set of small-scale, academic experiments. This volume seeks to demonstrate how the deliberative ideal can work as a theory of democracy on a larger scale. It provides a new way of thinking about democratic engagement across the spectrum of political action, from towns and villages to nation states, and from local networks to transnational, even global systems. Written by a team of the world's leading deliberative theorists, Deliberative Systems explains the principles of this new approach, which seeks ways of ensuring that a division of deliberative labour in a system nonetheless meets both deliberative and democratic norms. Rather than simply elaborating the theory, the contributors examine the problems of implementation in a real world of competing norms, competing institutions and competing powerful interests. This pioneering book will inspire an exciting new phase of deliberative research, both theoretical and empirical.


'Deliberative Systems is a true landmark: an integrated set of essays that analyzes, celebrates, and advocates the turn to systems in deliberative democracy. An impressive set of contributors demonstrates the power of this systems approach on many dimensions, generating effective responses to critics of deliberation. This volume should set the agenda for inquiry on democracy for years to come.’

John S. Dryzek - Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, Australian National University

‘Deliberative Systems infuses deliberative democratic theory with a macro-level conception of how a social system can engage in deliberative exchanges. By working through concrete cases from across the globe that involve media, elections, elites, and modern experiments in public participation, the book moves beyond theoretical abstraction to provide sharp insights into the practical work of making modern societies more deliberative and democratic.’

John Gastil - Pennsylvania State University

'What does it mean for our understanding of reason-giving in a deliberative democracy to take seriously the division of political labour between the people and their various representatives? Using the notion of a deliberative system as a loosely-coupled group of institutions and practices that perform the functions of seeking truth, establishing mutual respect, and generating inclusive, egalitarian decision-making, the authors of this collection provide the reader not only with an up-to-date compendium of thinking in deliberative democracy by some of its leading theorists, but also with thought-provoking original contributions to our understanding of deliberation representative political systems. This is a book that anyone concerned with deliberative democracy will have to engage with.'

Albert Weale - University College London

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