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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The deliberative systems approach focuses on “deliberative” as an adjectival quality of democratic systems, whether small-scale or large, rather than on “deliberation” as a noun. But how systems come to merit that adjective rather than any other is still an open question. This chapter addresses that by way of four subsidiary questions, which result in claims that deliberation is just one of several communicative modes in a democracy; that practices and systems need to be seen in light of power relations, especially agenda power; that systems are often better seen as processes, not venues, dynamic things occupied by purposive agents and not just formal, static relationships between institutions; and that the deliberative quality of a system might be best thought of in summative rather than additive terms. The chapter is, above all, a call to repoliticize deliberative scholarship.

Keywords: deliberative systems, deliberation, additive, summative, agenda, network, sequence, performance, practices

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