UBC Theses and Dissertations
Theorizing and assessing deliberative democracy in Korea and China Lee, Eon Joung
A process or event of communication should be both democratic and deliberative to be considered as “deliberative democracy”. An empirical case of deliberative democracy needs to establish a clear understanding of both deliberation and democracy not only to present a deliberative democratic case but to clearly demonstrate how deliberation can contribute to democracy. However, some empirical studies of deliberative democracy in and from South Korea and China interpret deliberative democracy differently, which can confuse readers’ conceptual understanding of “deliberative democracy”. I found two common problems of how the theory is applied and interpreted in the well-known cases from the two countries. The first is the scholars’ assertion that deliberation occurred, when the process was non-deliberative or generally non-deliberative. The second is scholars equating deliberation with democracy. The ambiguity between the two concepts can lead one to expect deliberation to generate democratic effects, even in non-democratic settings. However, non-democratic deliberation takes place in many cases without any democratic effects, which is evident in the cases presented in the given study. A solid theoretical base can provide guidance to an ideal process and help locate shortcomings in a model, which is the reason why empirical studies are in great demand. I hoped to find such guidance in scholarly assessments, yet a plethora of different interpretations in the South Korean and Chinese cases provided little ground to understand what deliberative democracy could possibly mean. In the given study, I attempted to identify and clarify some of the confusion in the studies of deliberative democratic cases from South Korea and China, where many understandings seem to be in play.
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