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Community and Democracy in South Africa: Liberal Versus Communitarian Perspectives


Yusef Waghid

The achievement of democratic forms of government ranging from liberal to communitarian strands has been a major priority for developing countries in their post-colonial histories. South Africa’s quest to establish a multi-party democratic system of government has been influenced by liberal and communitarian perspectives of democracy. Yet, the attainment of democracy in South Africa has not been without contradictions, particularly related to majority rule, equality of opportunity, and rights. This book reconstructs a conception of deliberative democracy which can create possibilities for a developing country to deal more adequately with majoritarianism, equalising opportunities, and rights. It makes an argument for a rational, reflexive discourse-oriented procedure of deliberative democracy which cultivates a form of citizenship that recognises the need for citizens to care, reason and engage justly in political conversation with others.
Contents: Utilitarianism, liberal equality and communitarianism as instances of liberalism – Caring, conversational justice and political reasoning as constitutive features of communitarianism – Freedom, equality and the rule of law in the context of community – Majoritarianism, equalisation of opportunities and substantive rights related to the South African community – Rationality as the general principle of deliberative democracy – Political accountability and socio-economic justice – Deliberative democracy and citizenship in South Africa.