Boeker, M (2016) Justification, Critique and Deliberative Legitimacy: The Limits of Mini-Publics. Contemporary Political Theory, 16 (1). pp. 19-40. ISSN 1476-9336

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I contend that the popular ‘mini-publics’ approach to implementing deliberation in practice is unable to realize deliberative democracy in a way that fulfills the deliberative democratic standard of legitimacy. Deliberative democratic legitimacy requires citizens to actively claim their right to justification against government authorities, which the capacity of mini-public deliberation to serve authorities sidelines or even undermines. I propose an alternative account of deliberative democracy with an eye specifically to legitimacy: deliberative democracy as a political culture. On this view, it is cultural aspects (the ethos, social norms and self-understandings that shape and constrain political processes), not institutional specificities, that are decisive for deliberation fulfilling its legitimacy ambition. Deliberative democratic theory ought to conceptualize ways of opening up social and political space for widespread citizen-led engagement and critical scrutiny of authorities, rather than striving for the development of institutional short-cuts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Contemporary Political Theory. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Böker, M., 2016. Justification, critique and deliberative legitimacy: The limits of mini-publics. Contemporary Political Theory is available online at
Uncontrolled Keywords: deliberative democracy, legitimacy, mini-publics, deliberative systems
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2016 15:39
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2018 14:47

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