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Foucault and radical deliberative democracy

Walter, R. (2008) Foucault and radical deliberative democracy. Australian Journal of Political Science, 43 (3). pp. 531-546.

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Deliberative democracy is a flourishing variant of democratic theory. John Dryzek and Iris Young are two of its more radical exponents, and here I bring some Foucaultian complications to their work. The radicalness I highlight in both thinkers owes to their different but comparable commitments to equality between different voices in deliberation. Foucault's histories are all histories of expert knowledges and the objects they usher into the world. In this sense, expert knowledges present problems for deliberative democracy, not only because they carry greater status than other knowledges but also because they have ontological effects. As I illustrate with the example of economics, although the programs of Dryzek and Young can cope quite well with the first, the second is a more serious problem, although possibly a positive one.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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