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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"A time for reconciliation"? : the Bouchard-Taylor Commission and evolving democratic practices in identity politics Granofsky, Dana Rose


This paper aims to explore the Bouchard-Taylor Commission as an example of an attempt to develop elements of deliberation into Canada’s representative democratic system. Exploring this case study will help elucidate the theoretical strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to democracy as they relate to issues of identity, and some of the practical difficulties and benefits involved in introducing more deliberative elements into a representative system. Though each covers a variety of more particular forms, broad models of democratic practice can be recognized and grouped according to the way they interpret the public will and translates it into government action. I have organized these broad conceptions of democracy into three models, which can be identified as representative democracy, deliberative democracy, and what I am calling expressive democracy. I argue that any practicable solution to identity conflicts will necessarily be a hybrid of these three models; for that reason it is important to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of each model in relation to the others. Through this practical example, I will attempt to refine our understanding of each of these models so that they can be brought together in a general theory of democracy that will better speak to conflicts in identity politics.

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