An Exercise in Citizenship: Democratic Deliberation, Participation, and Education

By Audric Vitiello

Deliberative democracy induces a reform of political institutions, but also a conceptual redefinition of a democratic institution. If formation is a core issue of civic practice, political deliberation introduces opinions and subjectivities into the dynamic trend of a step-by-step citizenship. But such a crossing of educative and political dimensions leads to major conceptual and practical difficulties: First, the results of deliberative formation always remain uncertain, due to the unpredictable interaction with particular audiences; second, democratic participation depends on a complex, dialectical mechanism, where heteronomy must generate civic autonomy. Hence, an essential imperfection of deliberative institutions, which should be conceived not as a new model of democracy but as an alternative conception of democracy, which appears as an ever-perfectible experimentation.


  • democracy
  • political participation
  • deliberative democracy
  • citizenship
  • civic formation
  • empowerment
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