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Role of states and localities.

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Sources of conflicts in state-local politics. Nature of state-local political processes. Intergovernmental relations. Supreme Court. Behavioral and institutional perspectives on judicial attitudes and behavior. Puritans, American Revolution, establishment of the Constitution, and thought of Hamilton and Jefferson.

Democratic Theory and Causal Methodology in Comparative Politics

Its aim is to understand how problems, political actors, and institutions come together to shape policymaking in this arena. Over the course of the semester we will consider the various goals of PCR work, the range of actors that conduct it and the lessons learned from its application across various settings. Institutional and political capability of international organizations. Recent theoretical and methodological development. Neoclassical and leftist approaches to problems of expansion, North-North relations, North-South relations, and system transformation.

How should local communities, national governments, and international institutions respond? What are the goals of these policies, and are they effective? Key dynamics that influence the way decision makers perceive and respond to crisis and the processes that facilitate constructive crisis management. Definitions of foreign policy and logic of comparative analysis; historical roots of study of foreign policy; theories of war proneness, change and cooperation; examination of how foreign policy is made.

The military's role in the modern state and in modern society. Conceptual, theoretical, and empirical analysis. Focus on developing dissertation proposals. Comparisons of constructivist theories, comparisons to other theories of world politics, and reviews of exemplary empirical applications.

1 - What is Comparative Politics

Theoretical uses, implications, and meanings of techniques. Theoretical currents running through Marx, Gramsci, and contemporary interpreters. Includes substantial readings from Gramsci's major theoretical statement, the "Prison Notebooks. Role of evaluative concepts like equality, liberty, and rights in such efforts. Design theory, game theory, impossibility theorems, voting rules, distributive justice, market models. Theories of justice: Rawls, utilitarianism, Nozick. Foundational works in cognitive science. Applications to participation, socialization, attitude formation, and political decision making.

And political theorists make a living in large part by disagreeing with and criticizing each other. In fact, it is possible to evaluate the success of a political theory by the number of critics it attracts, and the vitality of its intramural disputes. By this measure, deliberative democracy is very successful indeed. Yet if the normative project is to progress and be applied effectively in practice, it needs to lay some issues to rest.

Deliberative democracy is not just the area of contention that its standing as a normative political theory would suggest. It is also home to a large volume of empirical social science research that, at its best, proceeds in dialogue with the normative theory. Indeed, the field is exemplary in this combination of political theory and empirical research. Deliberative ideas have also attracted the attention of citizens, activists, reform organizations, and decision-makers around the world.

The practical uptake of deliberative ideas in political innovation provides a rich source of lessons from experience that can be added to theorizing and social science. This combination has proven extremely fruitful. Rather than proving or falsifying key hypotheses, deliberative practice has sharpened the focus of the normative project, showing how it can be applied in many different contexts. We believe that conceptual analysis, logic, empirical study, normative theorizing, and the refinement of deliberative practice have set at least some controversies to rest, and we provide the following set of twelve key findings that can be used as the basis for further developments.

D eliber ative democracy is realistic.


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Skeptics have questioned the practical viability of deliberative democracy: its ideals have been criticized as utopian and its forums have been dismissed as mere experiments, with no hope of being institutionalized effectively. But skeptics have been proved wrong by the many and diverse deliberative innovations that have been implemented in a variety of political systems.

The recent turn toward deliberative systems demonstrates that deliberative democratic ideals can be pursued on a large scale in ways that link particular forums and more informal practices, such as communication in old and new media. Deliberation is essential to democracy. Social choice theory appears to demonstrate that democratic politics must be plagued by arbitrariness and instability in collective decision. Notably, for political scientist William Riker, clever politicians can manipulate agendas and the order in which votes are taken to ensure their preferred option wins.

And in that case, there can be no stable will of the people that can possibly be revealed by voting in, say, a legislature. So, how can meaning and stability be restored to democracy? There are essentially two mechanisms, once dictatorship is ruled out. This result explains why all democratic settings, in practice, feature some combination of communication, which can be more or less deliberative, and formal and informal rules.

Conjunctural causation in comparative case-oriented research

The more deliberative the communication, the better democracy works. Democracy must be deliberative. Deliberation is more than discussion. Deliberative democracy is talk-centric. But talk alone can be pathological, producing wildly mixed results from an ideal deliberative perspective.

Maxwell School Department of Political Science: Graduate Courses

Empirical observation reveals that deliberation is more complex than originally theorized, involving both dispositional and procedural components. The purely procedural rationalist model of deliberation is normatively problematic because it is empirically questionable.


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  • Deliberative democracy involves multiple sorts of communication. Some democrats have charged deliberative democracy with being overly rationalistic. A similar kind of critique has been raised by political theorist Chantal Mouffe, who criticizes deliberative democrats for missing the crucial role that passion plays in politics and for emphasizing the rationalism of liberal democratic political thought.

    Deliberative democrats have responded by foregrounding the varied articulations of reason-giving and consensus requirements of deliberation. The turn to deliberative systems has emphasized multiple sites of communication, each of which can host various forms of speech that can enrich the inclusive character of a deliberative system.

    The increasing attention paid to deliberative cultures is also part of this trajectory, in which systems of meanings and norms in diverse cultural contexts are unpacked to understand the different ways political agents take part in deliberative politics. Deliberation is for all. The charge of elitism was one of the earliest criticisms of deliberative democratic theory: that only privileged, educated citizens have access to the language and procedures of deliberation. However, empirical research has established the inclusive, rather than elitist, character of deliberative democracy.

    Findings in deliberative experiments suggest that deliberation can temper rather than reinforce elite power. Political scientists James Druckman and Kjersten Nelson have shown how citizen conversations can vitiate the influence of elite framing. Deliberative democracy has a nuanced view of power.

    Empowering or generative forms of power are central to the communicative force of deliberative governance. Deliberative democrats recognize that coercive power pervades social relations, but understand that certain kinds of power are needed to maintain order in a deliberative process, to address inequalities, and to implement decisions. Productive deliberation is plural, not consensual. A seeming commitment to the pursuit of consensus — that is, agreement on both a course of action and the reasons for it — once provided a target for critics of deliberative democracy, who stressed its other-worldly character and silencing of dissident voices.

    Decision-making in deliberative democracy can involve voting, negotiation, or workable agreements that entail agreement on a course of action, but not on the reasons for it. All of these benefit from deliberation, which can involve clarification of the sources of disagreement, and understanding the reasons of others. Rather than consensus, deliberation should recognize pluralism and strive for metaconsensus, which involves mutual recognition of the legitimacy of the different values, preferences, judgments, and discourses held by other participants.

    However, the concept of consensual liberal democratic states as opposed to adversarial does not imply consensus in the strong sense we identified. Consensual states are still pluralistic, but their pluralism is channeled into workable agreements, not adversarial point-scoring. Participation and deliberation go together.

    This distinction misfires. First, while it is true that a large number of deliberative scholars research mini-publics, these studies are motivated by the desire to better understand how lessons learned from small-scale deliberative forums can be scaled up to mass democracies and enhance the quality of political participation. So, for example, John Dryzek and ecological economist Alex Lo have shown how particular rhetorical moves can increase the quality of reasoning in a mini-public, which has direct implications for how climate change should be communicated in the public sphere further examples will be provided in our discussions of time, group polarization, and divided societies.

    Second, the political projects of participatory and deliberative democracy are intimately linked. Deliberative transformation takes time. Deliberation by definition requires amenability to preference transformation, but such transformation may not be a good measure of the quality of deliberation. The goal of deliberation is for citizens to determine reflectively not only preferences, but also the reasons that support them.

    This process takes time and deliberation does not necessarily follow a smooth path. Initial changes to preferences can even be partially reversed. The initial opening up of minds as part of taking a deliberative stance and uptake of information represents a dramatic threshold in the transition toward deliberation proper, producing changes that represent catharsis as much as deliberation.

    It is subsequent reflection that produces deliberative preferences, only after the stance is achieved. True deliberative transformation takes longer than that.