Between deliberative and participatory democracy: A contribution on Habermas

Deliberative democracy has assumed a central role in the debate about deepening democratic practices in complex contemporary societies. By acknowledging the citizens as the main actors in the political process, political deliberation entails a strong ideal of participation that has not, however, been properly clarified. The main purpose of this article is to discuss, through Jürgen Habermas’ analysis of modernity, reason and democracy, whether and to what extent deliberative democracy and participatory democracy are compatible and how they can, either separately or together, enhance democratic practices. Further exploration of this relationship will permit a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of institutionalizing both discourses, as well as of developing democracy in a more substantive dimension.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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