Deliberative Voting: Operationalizing Consensus in a Deliberative Minipublic
35 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 31 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2012
Deliberative democratic theory has paid much attention to how deliberation is supposed to go, but less to how it is supposed to stop. It is commonly assumed that for a deliberation to conclude it must (i) reach consensus, (ii) stop without any collective decision, or (iii) hold a vote. In this paper we theorize ‘apparent consensus’ as a way to conclude a deliberation with an agreement that is less than normative unanimity (everybody agreeing to the same thing for the same reasons), but more than compromise or modus vivendi. This differs from recent accounts of ‘meta-consensus’ in that we operationalize the concept by considering how the agreement is recognized by participants. In order to achieve such recognition in situ, we suggest a novel and counter-intuitive use for voting within the deliberative process, as a means to make visible to participants the grounds for decision by consensus.
Keywords: Deliberation, Voting, Consensus, Decision, Minipublic
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