The most recent 'turn' in deliberative democracy is the conceptualisation and application of the deliberative system. The systemic turn promises to extend the conception of deliberative democracy to take into account the deliberative characteristics of the political system as a whole, including the interactions between informal networks, the media, organized advocacy groups, schools, foundations, private and non-profit institutions, legislatures, executive agencies, and the courts. The essay 'A systemic approach to deliberative democracy', co-authored by leading figures within the deliberative paradigm (Mansbridge et al 2012) acts as a manifesto for this new approach.

Just as there has been contestation in earlier scholarship on deliberative democracy, conceptualizations of the deliberative system warrant careful consideration. This workshop aims to critically evaluate emerging conceptualisations of deliberative systems. Contributions are welcome in two broad areas:

  • What conceptual and methodological developments are required to ensure the robustness of theories of deliberative systems? (e.g. articulation and application of evaluative criteria; analysis of interactions within and across systems; treatment of non-deliberative practices…)
  • Are there more theoretically and methodologically productive approaches to formulating systemic analysis other than deliberative systems? (e.g. deliberative systems as conceptual overstretch; deliberation as one element of a democratic system; participative, agonistic or liberal alternatives...) 

Co-organised with Maija Setälä, Cláudia Feres Faria (both currently visiting CSD) and the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy (PDD) Specialist Group of the PSA.

See the PDD blog for a write up of the event.