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Deliberative Democracy and the Realist Recovery of Politics

Hodgson, James (2015) Deliberative Democracy and the Realist Recovery of Politics. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis is an attempt to synthesise two streams of political thought previously conducted in isolation from one another: political realism and the theory of deliberative democracy. The thesis attempts to show that both of these approaches reveal something important about the nature of democratic politics, and that despite the appearance of mutual antipathy these approaches are compatible with one another. Political realism urges us to attend to the sites of power, conflict, and interest in politics, while deliberative democracy emphasises conciliation, inclusion, and reciprocity. By synthesising both approaches, we can achieve a greater understanding of the character and purposes of democratic politics and the possibilities for deliberative democratic reform. The overarching argument is for the central place of deliberation within a realist account of democratic politics. I begin by considering three realist models of democracy: agonism, competitive elitism, and deliberative democracy. I argue that deliberative democracy offers the most promising model as it can accommodate realist concerns. I then move to examine several aspects of democratic politics overlooked by political theorists but which realism directs us towards. These are: rhetoric and leadership, parties and partisanship, and states of emergency. In each case, I elaborate how these features of real democratic politics appear to pose challenges for deliberative democracy, before outlining how the dominant treatments of these aspects are inadequate for various reasons, and then propose alternative accounts of each in which they are compatible with political deliberation. The aim of each chapter is to extend the role and possibilities for deliberation in real democratic politics. I conclude with some general reflections on the recovery of politics for contemporary political thought.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.685237
Depositing User: Mr James Hodgson
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 14:01
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12678

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