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Cracking the whip: The deliberative costs of strict party discipline

Udit Bhatia, University of Oxford

Tue 26 September 2017

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


This paper explores how strict party discipline over legislators can harm a legislative assembly’s deliberative capacity. I begin by showing different ways in which control over legislators can be exercised, and why some warrant more attention than others. Next, I discuss three ways in which such control stifles the discursive autonomy of legislators. In the third section, I outline two ways in which deliberation in the context of legislatures can be understood: the classical and distributed approach.  The fourth section argues that the stifling of discursive autonomy of legislators imposes costs on deliberation in parliament, whether this is viewed in the classical or the distributed sense. In the fifth section, I outline different approaches we might adopt to party discipline in order to minimise its deliberative costs.

About the speaker

Udit Bhatia is a doctoral candidate and lecturer (Lady Margaret Hall) at the University of Oxford. His research interests lie at the intersections of democratic theory, political representation and social epistemology. He is currently examining the exclusion of persons from democratic citizenship on the basis of epistemic inferiority.

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