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Contemporary Political Theory

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 202–226 | Cite as

Deliberation, unjust exclusion, and the rhetorical turn

  • Steven GormleyEmail author
Article
  • 66 Downloads

Abstract

Theories of deliberative democracy have faced the charge of leading to the unjust exclusion of voices from public deliberation. The recent rhetorical turn in deliberative theory aims to respond to this charge. I distinguish between two variants of this response: the supplementing approach and the systemic approach. On the supplementing approach, rhetorical modes of political speech may legitimately supplement the deliberative process, for the sake of those excluded from the latter. On the systemic approach, rhetorical modes of political speech are legitimate within public deliberation, just so long as they result in net benefits to the deliberative system. I argue that neither of these two approaches adequately meets the unjust exclusion charge. Whereas the supplementing approach does not go far enough to incorporate rhetorical speech into public deliberation, the systemic approach goes too far by legitimising forms of rhetoric that risk only exacerbating the problem of unjust exclusion. More constructively, I draw on Aristotle’s conception of rhetoric, as an art (technē) that is a counterpart to dialectic, to argue for a constitutive approach to rhetoric. I show how this approach provides a more expansive notion of deliberation that remains normatively orientated.

Keywords

Aristotle deliberative democracy deliberative system exclusion manipulation rhetoric 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Fabian Freyenhagen, David McNeill, Alexandra Popescu, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful discussions and feedback. Special thanks to Dan Watts.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of EssexWivenhoe ParkUK

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