Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
Theorists of deliberation and deconstruction each claim commitments to a more open and legitimate democracy than existing liberal democracy. Eschewing traditional foundations such as natural law, historical inheritance, or the constitutive formation of the nation, they seek to develop a theory of democracy that is more inclusive in conditions of social diversity and complexity. This article investigates the meaning of the open political space that fosters the democratic experience under such conditions. First, a sociologically informed political theory, such as Jürgen Habermas' powerful if flawed attempt, is required to conceive participation in the democratic political sphere. Drawing on Jacques Derrida and others, the author then argues that deconstructive insights that introduce an openness to the non-identical contribute to a more complete democratic theory, offering a crucial mode of democratic inclusion of the other and an acknowledgment of difference that might assist in reforming current institutions. Thus a blend of Habermasian orientation toward deliberation and deconstruction's ethical sensibilities presents a promising development of democratic possibilities.
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