Deliberation and protest: strange bedfellows? Revealing the deliberative potential of 2013 protests in Turkey and Brazil

Ricardo Mendonca, Selen ERCAN

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Deliberation and protest have usually been understood as two mutually exclusive ways of practicing democracy. It has been argued that protests, due to their adversarial nature, and orientation toward conflict would hinder, rather than enhance, the prospects for deliberation. The recent cycle of protests, including the Arab Spring, Indignados and Occupy Wall Street, has however shown that contentious politics do not necessarily stand in opposition to the idea of deliberative democracy. On the contrary, these protests feature important deliberative qualities. In this article, we seek to identify the deliberative dimension of the recent wave of protests. We do so through a close analysis of theoretical approaches in democratic theory and by drawing on the 2013 protests in Brazil and Turkey. We show that deliberative democracy is not antithetical to conflicts and agonism generated by protests. In fact, protests constitute an integral part of public deliberation, especially when the latter is understood in broader terms, in terms of public conversation that occurs in multiple sites of communication. We argue that the deliberative dimension of the aforementioned protests is manifested in: (i) how they were organized, (ii) how they were carried out and (iii) what they have achieved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)267-282
    Number of pages16
    JournalPolicy Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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