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Pragmatist DemocracyEvolutionary Learning as Public Philosophy$
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Christopher Ansell

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199772438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772438.001.0001

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(p.144) Chapter 8 Consent
Pragmatist Democracy

Christopher K. Ansell

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges a “monistic” conception of sovereignty that envisions public action as flowing, in an unbroken chain, from popular sovereignty. This monistic conception imposes strong hierarchical accountability on public agencies and discourages them from building more bottom-up consent for strategic problem-solving. To build this bottom-up consent, public agencies must be more embedded in the communities they serve. Such embeddedness, however, raises serious concerns about corruption and fair representation. The chapter explores the possibilities for “embedded autonomy,” where agencies maintain their autonomy while engaging more directly with external stakeholders.

Keywords:   consent, popular sovereignty, pluralism, accountability, embeddedness, embedded autonomy

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