Title: The Rebuke of Thersites. Deliberative democracy under conditions of inequality
Authors: Hooghe, Marc # ×
Issue Date: 1999
Series Title: Acta Politica vol:34(4) pages:287-301
Abstract: In this article, it is argued that most of the literature in favour of deliberative democracy, fails to acknowledge the fact that access to deliberative procedures is not
equally distributed throughout society. Empirical research shows that culturally and educationally privileged groups have far better chances to prevail in deliberation
processes. Proponents of deliberative democracy neglect the fact that: 1) persistent patterns of inequality within society tend to be reinforced during deliberation; 2)
expecting disinterested participation from citizens is rather utopian; 3) deliberative processes create new inequalities. Building on Michael Walzer’s concept of complex equality,
it is argued that a generalisation of deliberative procedures can lead to a strengthening
of inequalities by giving an undue advantage to those members of society with greater
verbal and rhetorical skills. Proponents of deliberative democracy too easily assume
that this procedure can simultaneously lead to a democratic and rational outcome.
ISSN: 0001-6810
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Centre for Political Research
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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