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Provisional Liberalism, Part I: Why Deliberative Democratic Theory Requires a Provisionally Liberal Concept of Time

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This paper introduces a much larger project on the history, theory, and application of the idea of provisional liberalism. Here I argue that more than a decade of work in deliberative and discursive democratic theory has produced a solid record of improvement over previous models of democratic theory, but that these gains have been accompanied by very serious shortcomings. I propose to save the advantages and jettison the disadvantages of deliberative theory by revising it in accordance with the theory of provisional liberalism, and in particular, provisional liberalism?s concept of time.
This move is no mere abstraction, but entails a very specific set of methodological recommendations for democratic theorist, who, I argue, ought not to require deliberation to produce either quick consensus or individual political enlightenment. Rather, realizing the standards set by deliberative theory should promote dynamic shifts in the arguments that are possible to make successfully in public. Instead of looking to sophisticated versions of public opinion research for information on individual-level preferences and how they change, deliberative democratic theory should attend to the various literatures on the dynamics of political argument itself. These include work in the history of concepts, discourse theory, the languages of political thought, and empirical literatures on the causal power of ideas.

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polit (149), delib (120), theori (96), public (91), democrat (74), provision (59), liber (54), polici (53), democraci (49), moral (47), right (46), gutmann (46), thompson (45), 1999 (41), chang (38), institut (37), theorist (36), make (34), state (33), univers (32), sphere (31),

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Keywords: provisional right; liberalism; democratic theory; deliberation; deliberative theory; history of concepts; Begriffsgeschichte; Kant; public sphere
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Ellis, Elisabeth. "Provisional Liberalism, Part I: Why Deliberative Democratic Theory Requires a Provisionally Liberal Concept of Time" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-27 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65010_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ellis, E. , 2002-08-28 "Provisional Liberalism, Part I: Why Deliberative Democratic Theory Requires a Provisionally Liberal Concept of Time" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-27 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65010_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper introduces a much larger project on the history, theory, and application of the idea of provisional liberalism. Here I argue that more than a decade of work in deliberative and discursive democratic theory has produced a solid record of improvement over previous models of democratic theory, but that these gains have been accompanied by very serious shortcomings. I propose to save the advantages and jettison the disadvantages of deliberative theory by revising it in accordance with the theory of provisional liberalism, and in particular, provisional liberalism?s concept of time.
This move is no mere abstraction, but entails a very specific set of methodological recommendations for democratic theorist, who, I argue, ought not to require deliberation to produce either quick consensus or individual political enlightenment. Rather, realizing the standards set by deliberative theory should promote dynamic shifts in the arguments that are possible to make successfully in public. Instead of looking to sophisticated versions of public opinion research for information on individual-level preferences and how they change, deliberative democratic theory should attend to the various literatures on the dynamics of political argument itself. These include work in the history of concepts, discourse theory, the languages of political thought, and empirical literatures on the causal power of ideas.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 38
Word count: 10899
Text sample:
Provisional Liberalism Part I: Why Deliberative Democratic Theory Requires a Provisionally Liberal Concept of Time Elisabeth Ellis Texas A&M University DRAFT: comments are most welcome. Please submit them to ellis@polisci.tamu.edu. Prepared for the 2002 Annual Meeting of The American Political Science Association. Boston MA. August 29 th ­ September 1 2002. Copyright by the American Political Science Association. 2 Introduction This paper introduces a much larger project on the history theory and application of the idea of provisional liberalism.
University Press. Romer Paul M. 1993. ``Two Strategies for Economic Development: Using Ideas and Producing Ideas '' Proceedings of the World Bank Annual Conference on Development Economics 1992 pp. 63­91. Schauer Frederick. 1999. ``Talking as a Decision Procedure '' in Macedo ed. pp. 17­27. Shapiro Ian. 1999. ``Enough of Deliberation: Politics is about Interests and Power '' in Macedo ed. pp. 28­38. 38 ­­­­. 1996. Democracy's Place (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press). Shapiro Ian and Casiano Hacker­Cordón eds.


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