Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism Cover Image

Deliberativna demokratija ili agonistički pluralizam
Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism

Author(s): Chantal Mouffe
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Akademija Nauka i Umjetnosti Bosne i Hercegovine

Summary/Abstract: This article examines the current debate about the nature of democracy and discusses the main theses of the approach called ‘deliberative democracy’ in its two main versions, the one put forward by John Rawls, and the other one put forward by Jürgen Habermas. While agreeing with them as regards to the need to develop a more of democracy than the one offered by the ‘aggregative’ model, the author submits that they do not provide an adequate understanding of the main task of democracy. No doubt, by stating that democracy cannot be reduced to a question of procedures to mediate among conflicting interests, deliberative democrats defend a conception of democracy that presents a richer conception of politics. But, albeit in a different way than the view they criticize, their vision is also a rationalist one which leaves aside the crucial role played by ‘passions’ and collective forms of identifications in the field of politics. Moreover, in their attempt to reconcile the liberal tradition with the democratic one, deliberative democrats tend to erase the tension that exist between liberalism and democracy and they are therefore unable to come to terms with the conflictual nature of democratic politics. The main thesis put forward in this article is that democratic theory needs to acknowledge the ineradicability of antagonism and the impossibility of achieving a fully inclusive rational consensus. It is argued that a model of democracy in terms of ‘agonistic pluralism’ can help us to better envisage the main challenge facing democratic politics today: how to create democratic forms of identifications that will contribute to mobilize passions towards democratic designs.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 16-34
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Bosnian