DECOLONIZING DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY

Deliberative democracy advances an emancipatory project but to unfold its full potential, it needs to face colonial traces within.


About this event


Deliberative democracy advances an emancipatory project of inclusion, equality, and freedom. Yet these ideals have been produced in a particular economic and cultural context. Emerging out of the humanist Enlightenment tradition and inspired by linguistic and critical theories, deliberative democracy is deeply rooted in Western academia. This also means that despite its emancipatory impetus, it emerged in a context marked by colonial thinking. In this presentation, Mendonça and Asenbaum argue that if deliberative democracy is to unfold its full democratic potential, it needs to face the colonial traces it may carry within it.


The presentation proposes six moves towards decolonizing deliberative democracy. In order not to remain in the a purely negative, deconstructive impetus of decolonization, we also want to sketch a positive, reconstructive way forward. Hence, the first three moves we are proposing are deconstructive and aim at deepening critical reflection while the other three moves mark a concrete starting point for a decolonial reconstruction of deliberative democracy: (1) the acknowledgement of the violence often hidden by the narrative of modernity, (2) the recognition of the epistemic asymmetries within the knowledge production of deliberative democracy, (3) the reflection on the colonial drive observable in current approaches to democratic innovations, (4) centring on social injustices cutting across democracies, (5) looking to the Global South in an actual dialogue, (6) including marginalized groups and people outside academia into the theorizing process.


Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça is an Associate Professor at the Political Science Department, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). He is the coordinator of MARGEM (Research Group on Democracy and Justice) and is the Director of International Cooperation of the Brazilian National Institute for Digital Democracy and of the Brazilian Political Science Association. He is also a CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) Researcher. Ricardo Mendonça works with democratic theory, critical theory, contentious politics, and political communication. He has recently published in Policy Studies, Constellations, Political Studies, Critical Policy Studies, Policy & Society, Democratic Theory, and several Brazilian journals. He is one of the editors of Deliberative Systems in Theory and Practice (with S. Elstub and S. Ercan, Routledge, 2018), Introdução à Teoria Democrática (with E. Cunha, Editora UFMG, 2018), Deliberação on-line no Brasil (with R. Sampaio and S. Barros, EDUFBA, 2016) and Democracia Digital: Publicidade, instituic?o?es e confronto poli?tico (with M. Pereira and F. Filgueiras, Editora UFMG, 2016).


Hans Asenbaum is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. He holds a PhD from the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London and is a co-convener of the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy specialist group of the Political Studies Association (PSA). His research interests include identity and inclusion in new participatory spaces, digital politics, and theories of radical democracy. Hans’ work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Political Studies, New Media & Society, and Politics & Gender.


Seminar series convenors Hans Asenbaum and Sahana Sehgal.


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