|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy|
|Place of Publication||UK|
|Publisher||SAGE Publications Ltd|
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
Deliberative democracy is a growing branch of democratic theory that is very influential in contemporary political practice. Deliberative democrats suggest understanding democracy in terms of exchange of reasons rather than voting or aggregation of preferences. Deliberation involves a process of mutual justification where participants offer reasons for their positions, listen to the views of others, and reconsider their preferences in light of new information and arguments. However, deliberative democracy is not a unified theory; different versions of this approach exist. The roots of deliberative democracy can be traced back to Aristotle and his notion of politics; however, the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas's work on communicative rationality and the public sphere is often identified as a major work in this area. This entry first focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of deliberative democracy and identifies its different strands. It then describes how this theory has been applied in practice, noting its role in civic education; and finally, it presents the various criticisms that have been leveled against it.