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Rethinking Party Reform$
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Fabio Wolkenstein

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198849940

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198849940.001.0001

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A Deliberative Model of Intra-Party Democracy

A Deliberative Model of Intra-Party Democracy

(p.35) 2 A Deliberative Model of Intra-Party Democracy
Rethinking Party Reform

Fabio Wolkenstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to answer the question of how exactly internally democratic parties should look, developing a ‘deliberative model of intra-party democracy’. The main justification of such a model is first, that deliberation can cater better to the demand for political self-expression many citizens share than merely aggregative democratic practices, and second, that deliberation can perform an important critical function within parties, allowing the status quo to be questioned and transformed. The challenge is to devise mechanisms and institutions that can enhance deliberation within parties, and the chapter looks here to the more practice-oriented literature on deliberative democracy and democratic innovations for inspiration. As an instantiation of bottom-up democracy, it is suggested, a deliberative model of intra-party democracy must empower the active members on the ground and offer numerous fora in which they can make their voices heard and bring them to bear on decisions. Chief amongst the institutional design paths suggested are problem-oriented fora, partisan deliberative networks, and larger deliberative conferences. These proposals are discussed in turn, and empirical illustrations of how they could be realised are provided.

Keywords:   intra-party democracy, deliberation, deliberative democracy, democratic innovations, participation, party membership, linkage

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