UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Resisting the deliberative ideal : towards a pluralistic theory of oppositional democracy Buffie, Jordan


Deliberation and resistance have long been theorized as crucial to democracy. Yet, political theorists have frequently described these two practices as being in tension, if not in outright conflict. “Activist” critiques of deliberative democracy have prompted an ongoing debate about the extent to which acts of protest and resistance can be integrated with theories of public deliberation. This thesis makes two contributions to this debate. First, I argue that deliberative democracy has attempted to reconcile resistance with deliberation by subordinating the former to the normative priority of the latter in ways that elide or categorically exclude crucial power-contesting practices. Second, I develop a provisional framework for thinking about the democratic value of resistance in more pluralistic terms so as to avoid construing resistance strictly in terms of its illocutionary force and deliberative consequences.

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