Still inviting abstracts for panel on normative democratic theory at ECPR Oslo

We are looking to submit the below panel proposal to the ECPR General Conference, 6-9 September 2017 in Oslo, and are still inviting abstracts for this via an open call – deadline coming up very soon:

Locating deliberative democracy’s normative principles in real-world political practice

Panel chairs: Andrew Knops (Birmingham), Marit Hammond (Keele)

Deliberative democracy was conceived as a theory of democratic legitimacy. Since its inception, however, much effort has been devoted to considering how its principles might apply to real-world practice. The most comprehensive of these confront the ‘mass public’ sphere of decision-making in electoral democracies as a whole. The problems of scale and diversity raised at this level present formidable challenges to such attempts at application.

From this move have emerged various species of ‘systems theory’ (Habermas 1996, Hendriks 2006, Parkinson & Mansbridge 2012, Knops 2016). In this ‘systemic turn’ (Dryzek 2010) deliberation is seen as a process comprised of interlinked elements. Individual elements may not be fully deliberative in themselves.  But taken together, they form a whole that is. Others have sought to relate deliberative to non-deliberative practises, such as bargaining (Mansbridge et al. 2010) or rhetoric (Chambers 2009)), to clarify the role of deliberation in real-world policy making. The danger of engaging with practical processes in this way is that we may lose sight of or dilute the principles that form the deliberative project’s normative core (Parkinson 2010, Bachtiger et al. 2010: 34, Knops 2016).

This panel seeks to return the focus to that normative core in discussions of how deliberative principles should inform real-world practice. It confronts the question of the relation of deliberative principles of legitimacy to real-world political decision making in large-scale contemporary polities. How should we conceive of the relationship between these normative models of legitimacy and the political processes of large-scale contemporary polities? What practises does such a relationship suggest? How might the process of policy making, or of deliberation, be adapted to advance the legitimacy of decisions in such polities by these lights?

To submit an abstract, please email Marit Hammond ( by Friday 10th February 2017.



Bachtiger et al. (2010) ‘Disentangling Diversity in Deliberative Democracy’ Journal of Political Philosophy 18(1): 32-63.

Chambers S (2009) ‘Rhetoric and the Public Sphere’ Political Theory 37(3): 323-350.

Dryzek J. S. (2010) Foundations and Frontiers of Deliberative Governance Oxford, Oxford University Press. 

Habermas J. (1996) Between Facts and Norms Massachusetts, MIT Press

Hendriks C. M.  (2006) ‘Integrated Deliberation: Reconciling Civil Society’s Dual Role in Deliberative Democracy’ Political Studies 54: 486-508.

Knops A. (2016) ‘Deliberative Networks’ Critical Policy Studies 10(3): 305-24.

Mansbridge et al. (2010) ‘The Place of Self-interest and the Role of Power in Deliberative Democracy’ Journal of Political Philosophy 18(1): 64-100.

Parkinson J. and Mansbridge J. (eds.) (2012) Deliberative Systems Cambridge, CUP

Parkinson J. (2012) ‘Democratizing Deliberative Systems’ in Parkinson & Mansbridge: 151-172.


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