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Ana Tanasoca and Jensen Sass, University of Canberra

Tue 15 November 2016

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


In this paper we argue that individuals and groups often engage in deliberation as a form of ritual—what we call “deliberation-as-ritual”—which has its own benefits that have been so far overlooked.

We first isolate a set of defining features distinguishing rituals from other collective practices (section I). We go on to define deliberation-as-ritual and provide several examples that illustrate the ritualistic aspect of deliberation in various political institutional settings (section II). Next we elaborate on the value and function of deliberation-as-ritual comparing it with other rituals that are ubiquitous in political life (section III). In doing so we situate our argument within the wider scholarship of deliberative democracy, by identifying both points of convergence and divergence with our approach. Then we lay down the conceptual benefits of our approach and argue in favour of precisification (section IV). Finally, we discuss and rebuke a range of potential objections to our argument (section V).

About the speakers

Ana Tanasoca joined the Centre in 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow working with Professor Dryzek on his Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship project ‘Deliberative Worlds: Democracy, Justice and a Changing Earth System.’

Jensen Sass is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre. His work at the Centre examines the way social norms and cultural meanings shape the character of deliberation within different contexts.

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