Democratic Deliberation: Empowering Cultural Communities
This chapter argues that deliberative democracy theory is an invaluable resource for thinking about how liberal democracies and minority cultural groups might mediate conflicts of culture. However, it needs to be amended in important ways if it is to respond to the needs of minority cultural communities. This chapter makes the case for a deliberative democratic approach to resolving tensions between gender equality and cultural recognition, grounding it in principle of political inclusion and democratic legitimacy. This conception of democratic deliberation is open-ended with respect to outcomes, and takes its cue from an agonistic account of power and dialogue rather than the reasoned deliberation usually urged by proponents of discourse ethics, such as Jürgen Habermas, Joshua Cohen, and Seyla Benhabib. This approach to negotiating conflicts, which emphasizes negotiation and compromise, can also help to empower vulnerable members of cultural groups who dissent from prevailing cultural roles and arrangements in their communities.
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