Deliberative democracy in divided societies: Alternatives to agonism and analgesia

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312 Citations (Scopus)


For contemporary democratic theorists, democracy is largely a matter of deliberation. But the recent rise of deliberative democracy (in practice as well as theory) coincided with ever more prominent identity politics, sometimes in murderous form in deeply divided societies. This essay considers how deliberative democracy can process the toughest issues concerning mutually contradictory assertions of identity. After considering the alternative answers provided by agonists and consociational democrats, the author makes the case for a power-sharing state with attenuated sovereignty and a more engaged deliberative politics in a public sphere that is semidetached from the state and situated transnationally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-242
Number of pages25
JournalPolitical Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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