1st Edition

Compromise and Disagreement in Contemporary Political Theory

Edited By Christian Rostboll, Theresa Scavenius Copyright 2018
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Until recently, discussions of compromise have been largely absent in political theory. However, political theorists have become increasingly interested in understanding the practice and justification of compromise in politics. This interest is connected to the increased concern with pluralism and disagreement.

    Compromise and Disagreement in Contemporary Political Theory provides a critical discussion of when and to what extent compromise is the best response to pluralism and disagreement in democratic decision-making and beyond. Christian F. Rostbøll and Theresa Scavenius draw together the work of ten established and emerging scholars to provide different perspectives on compromise. Organized into four parts, the book begins by discussing the justification and limits of compromise. Part 2 discusses the practice of compromise and considers the ethics required for compromise as well as the institutions that facilitate compromise. Part 3 focuses on pluralism and connects the topic of compromise to current discussions in political theory on public reason, political liberalism, and respect for diversity. Part 4 discusses different challenges to compromise in the context of the current political environment.

    The book will be of interest to a wide range of scholars in the social sciences, philosophy, and law. It will be useful in introducing scholars to a variety of approaches to compromise and as readings for graduate courses in political theory and political philosophy, ethics, the history of ideas, and the philosophy of law.

    Introduction: Compromise and Disagreement

    [Christian F. Rostbøll and Theresa Scavenius]

    Part 1: The Justification and Limits of Compromise

    1. Compromise and Toleration: Responding to Disagreement
    2. [Christian F. Rostbøll]

    3. No Compromise on Racial Equality
    4. [Simon Căbulea May]

    5. Compromise and the Value of Widely Accepted Laws
    6. [Fabian Wendt]

      Part 2: The practice of compromise

    7. The Ethics of Compromise
    8. [Daniel M. Weinstock]

    9. Compromise as a Normative Ideal for Pluralistic Politics
    10. [Manon Westphal]

    11. Political Compromise in Party Democracy: An Overlooked Puzzle in Kelsen’s Democratic Theory
    12. [David Ragazzoni]

      Part 3: Pluralism and compromise

    13. Compromise, Value Pluralism, and Democratic Liberalism
    14. [Patrick Overeem]

    15. Are Compromises More Inclusive of Non-Liberals?
    16. [Tore Vincents Olsen]

    17. Public Epistemology as a Compromise: Why Should We Agree to Disagree?
    18. [Aurélia Bardon]

      Part 4: Political challenges to compromise

    19. Compromise and Political Language
    20. [Michael Freeden] 

    21. The Role of Political and Self-representation in Compromise

    [Alin Fumurescu]


    Christian F. Rostbøll is Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and holds a PhD from Columbia University, USA. He has published extensively within political theory. He is the author of Deliberative Freedom: Deliberative Democracy as Critical Theory (SUNY Press, 2008), and of articles in, among other journals, Journal of Politics, Political Theory, Constellations, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy & Social Criticism, European Journal of Political Theory, Social Theory and Practice, and European Political Science Review.

    Theresa Scavenius is postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She has published widely on climate politics, global justice, and the relationship between facts and norms. Her recent publications include "Fact-Sensitive Political Theory," published in CRISPP (2017), "The Issue of No Moral Agency in Climate Action," published in Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics (2017), and "The Tragedy of the Few," published in Res Publica (2016).

    'Christian Rostbøll and Theresa Scavenius's volume offers the most searching analysis available of the nature, limits and ethics of compromise. It brings together established and up and coming scholars, who divide roughly equally between critical defenders and reflective critics of the coherence and moral worth of compromise. Along the way, the authors engage with some of the key questions of contemporary political philosophy, including the existence of value pluralism, reasonable disagreement and the possibility of public reason, the justification of democracy, and the virtues of citizenship. In sum, this is a book that in exploring the centrality of compromise to our political practice provides new insights into some of the core issues of political philosophy.' - Richard Bellamy, Director of the Max Weber Programme, European University Institute


    'Compromise and Disagreement in Contemporary Political Theory is an important book. Contrary to the claim of populists that elected leaders and legislative majorities are entitled to rule without accommodating minority views or interests, this book shows that compromise is at the heart of constitutional democracy. Far from being a faute de mieux to consensus or mere modus vivendi, compromise has normative status in its own right. It is the great merit of this volume to begin the discussion about the status and the normative justifications of compromise and its role in making democracy work. A must read for all political theorists interested in constitutionalism and democracy.' - Jean L. Cohen, Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University