The Politics of the Spectacle
This book uses critical democratic theory to outline the effects of consumer culture on citizenship. It highlights the importance that public space plays in creating the critical culture necessary for a healthy democracy, and outlines how contemporary ‘public’ spaces – shopping centres, the Internet, social networking sites and suburban communities – contribute to this culture. Terrorism, ecological destruction and the financial crisis are also outlined as symptoms of the politics of the spectacle. The book concludes with some basic principles and novel suggestions which could be employed to avoid the pitfalls inherent in our spectacular existence.
Chapter Two: Deliberative Democracy 27
• C H A P T E R T W O • Deliberative Democracy Majority rule, just as majority rule, is as foolish as its critics charge it with being. But it is never merely majority rule…the means by which a majority comes to be a majority is the more important thing. —John Dewey (1954) ith these words John Dewey outlines the spirit of deliberative democracy. Deliberative democrats base their ideal system not around participation but around the notion of an ideal process of democratic conversation. Whilst deliberative democrats share the agonists’ desire to make the democratic process inclusive and flexible they argue they present a model of democratic interaction which is more suitable for the fractured publics of advanced economies. In the deliberative model the emphasis on personal involvement in politics is replaced by an emphasis on the correct procedure for public debate. Deliberative democrats tend to look at the problems and potential of communication on a personal level and then use those insights to critique public deliberation on a social level. In doing so, they focus on the procedures which govern communication. In order to present the central elements of the deliberative democratic system, I shall focus on the work of Jurgen Habermas as the most prominent and prolific deliberative theorist. Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action introduces a set of concepts which can be used to understand the democratic potential of deliberation and the threats to this potential in modern societies. This chapter will initially explore Habermas’s communicative theory...
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